Autonomous truck developer Einride has started the first operations of its cab-less, fully-electric T-pod driverless vehicle on public roads around an industrial park in Sweden, making the project the first commercial deployment of its kind in the world.
Together with its partner, DB Schenker, Einride’s T-pod will transport goods between a warehouse and terminal at the German logistics giant’s facility in Jönköping. The Swedish startup and Schenker started the first trials of the fully-autonomous T-pod last November. In March this year, the Swedish Transport Agency concluded that the T-pod is able to operate in accordance with the country’s traffic regulations and approved Einride’s application to expand the pilot project to self-driving on a public road. The permit is valid until the end of 2020 and applies to a public road within Jönköping’s industrial area.
“This represents a major milestone in Einride’s history, and for our movement to create a safe, efficient and sustainable transport solution, based on autonomous, electric vehicles, that has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from road freight transport by up to 90%,” commented Robert Falck, Einride’s founder and CEO at the inauguration ceremony. “I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of our team that made this happen in collaboration with our great partner and customer DB Schenker.”
Jochen Thewes, DB Schenker’s CEO, said, “Autonomous trucks will become increasingly important for the logistics sector. Together with Einride, we have now introduced autonomous, fully electric trucks to a continuous flow on a public road; a milestone in the transition to the transport system of tomorrow.”
Einride has also announced that it will collaborate with Svenska Retursystem (SRS), a leading Swedish logistics company, on exploring how digitalization and automation of the flow of goods can drive change towards a more effective and sustainable transport system. One goal is a pilot project to test Einride’s T-Pods at the SRS logistics center in Västerås, Sweden. Apart from the pilot, the partnership will involve an extensive exchange of knowledge and experience related to digitization and logistics.
Anna Elgh, CEO of SRS, noted, “We have pledged fossil-free transports by 2025, but getting there will be difficult and involve several different solutions. The partnership with Einride is important, not just to reduce our own emissions, but to push the whole industry towards sustainable transport.”