Swedish Einride will test autonomous trucks on US roads

Swedish autonomous truck startup Einride AB will test its autonomous trucks on public roads in the US in a business with GE Appliances after obtaining approval from federal regulators.

Einride plans to place one of its bulky non-driver electric vehicles on a one-mile journey between two warehouses in Tennessee for GE Appliances, a subsidiary of home appliance company Haier. The National Road Safety Service recently gave the green light to the test operation of the company.

“This is a step-by-step approach, and this is an important step forward, as it is actually now on public roads,” said Robert Falck, CEO of the six-year-old Stockholm-based company.

Einride is part of a growing field of autonomous truck startups in the race to bring their technology to the road and generate revenue. Companies such as TuSimple Holdings Inc. San Diego-based Aurora Innovation Inc. based in Pittsburgh and Waymo LLC, part of Google’s parent Alphabet Inc.,

have announced tests of driverless truck technology in commercial freight activities.

Steve Viscelli, an associate at the University of Pennsylvania and a lecturer and trucking expert on an Aurora advisory board, said the freight sector was moving faster toward autonomous transport than the passenger car business, in partly because technology can reduce costs and simplify business operations for commercial trucking companies.

“The trucks will undoubtedly be the first, in the real driverless system, partly for its finances,” Mr Viscelli said. “Right now, we have huge restrictions on how much a truck can move, because it is piloted by a man who has to sleep and use the bathroom and take 10-hour breaks and other things.”

Einride calls the skinny, blurry Pods vehicles. They have room for about 10 cargo pallets or about .000 57,000. There is no driver on board and they are managed by remote controllers, who may monitor multiple vehicles at once, according to Einride. These remote controls take actions that drivers would normally take, such as calling someone when a vehicle is stuck in a gate, Mr Falck said.

Einride’s pilot project, which runs for two weeks in the third quarter of 2022, will place the Pod on public roads carrying trucks and cars.

As driverless car companies Aurora and Embark debut on the stock exchange this month, WSJ CEO George Downs spoke to CEOs about why they focus on autonomous trucks and whether this could address the shortage of truck drivers in USA.

Einride signed an agreement last year to deliver 300 electric trucks to shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk A / S.

Many of the autonomous trucks developed by other companies are non-electric. This is partly because the return on investment does not currently exist for the distance they would lead relative to the time they would have to spend on charging, Mr Viscelli said.

One challenge facing US electric vehicle companies is the lack of charging infrastructure. That should not be a concern for the short distance Einride will use in Tennessee, but Mr. Falck said his company is ready to build the infrastructure needed to operate its vehicles.

Write to Liz Young at

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Swedish Einride will test autonomous trucks on US roads

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