Electric driverless truck on public road
December 5, 2018 - Swedish autonomous vehicle start-up Einride and German logistics group DB Schenker are set to gain regulatory approval, allowing an all-electric, driverless truck to carry freight on a public road.
The two groups said the permit would be a world first, enabling the commercial operation of a battery-powered truck to operate without a driver, following a pilot phase in operation since early November.
Einride and DB Schenker each said they expected to gain the permit by January.
The battery-electric T-pod can provide emission-free transportation at a cost that’s competitive with conventional diesel trucks, Einride claims.
The T-pod, designed to carry up to 15 standard European pallets, is about 7 metres long and weighs 20 tonnes at full capacity. Its battery capacity is 200 kilowatt hours, enabling a range of about 200km on a single charge.
In Sweden, Einride is developing a T-pod route with charging infrastructure between Gothenburg and Helsingborg, cities separated by about 200km. Einride aims to have 200 T-pods operating on that route by 2020.
The Stockholm-based company described the T-pod’s self-driving capabilities as Level 4 autonomy, meaning the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving under certain conditions without the need for a driver to intervene. The T-pod uses lidar and radar sensors and a machine vision system to track its surroundings.
Einride plans to begin operating with one remote driver per vehicle on the road, but over time, the company aims to expand that ratio until each remote driver is overseeing about 10 vehicles.