First driverless autonomous truck takes to public roads

The first cab-less, driverless autonomous truck has taken to public roads for the first time in Sweden.

Swedish manufacturer Einride’s T-pod, which as well as being cab-less is also fully electric, had its inaugural run at German logistics company DB Schenker’s facility in Jönköping, Sweden, on May 15.

The T-pod, which weighs 26 tonnes when fully loaded, will now transport goods between a warehouse and terminal at the facility, as part of a commercial flow. However, it will be limited to a speed of just 3mph while mixing with conventional vehicles.

It is not fully autonomous, as it will have a remote operator overseeing its operation from a control room.

The Swedish Transport Agency agreed that the T-pod can operate in accordance with Swedish traffic regulations on March 7. Four days later, the agency approved Einride’s application to expand the pilot to a public road. The permit only applies to a public road within an industrial area – between a warehouse and a terminal and is valid until 31 December 2020.

Robert Falck, CEO and founder of Einride said that this run represented 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%.”

Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker, added: “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.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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