the swedish company Einridedeveloper of the T-Pod autonomous electric truck, which completely dispenses with the driver’s cabin, has received the NHTSA clearance (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to driving on public roads in the United States. In other cases, this authorization requires a security driver to remain on board the vehicle in case of problems. As this is not possible in the T-Pod, since it lacks a cabin, this supervision, for the first time, will be carried out remotely by an operator.
Einride describes itself as a charging technology company founded in 2016 that develops electrified commercial mobility solutions with Class 8 autonomous trucks. In 2017, it began its journey with the introduction of the T-Log a fully electric self-driving logging truck. The pod can be considered his successor. It is a fully electric and autonomous truck, since it dispenses with the driver’s cabin and which conducted real road tests in Sweden in 2019.
Now the company has received green light to operate on US public roads. There are already several autonomous trucks that have done so, but all of them supervised by a physical driver sitting in his cabin. Their role is to ensure safety if problems arise. In other cases they have also been accompanied by a mobile team that circulates with them.
However, the case of Einride is different. The company itself claims that it is the first to which the NHTSA gives an authorization to operate on public roads in the United States no driver on board. The Pod employs an onboard sensor suite made up of cameras, radars, and LiDAR radars that map its surroundings and feed data into its decision-making algorithms.
To check that the system is secure, it will be constantly remotely monitored by a human operator, which the company says is “critical to safely scaling its autonomous vehicles.” This remote monitoring keeps the virtual driver continually informed and, Also, create a new kind of work for truck drivers that completely changes their current way of life.
The Enride remote operator workstation it is similar to the one used in racing video games. A comfortable seat with multiple monitors connected in real time to the cameras that are located on board an AET (Autonomous Electric Transport) and a steering wheel, an accelerator and a brake pedal, connected to the vehicle, which send orders through the 5G network to the truck mechanics. Einride’s operating system includes transmission of high definition video working in collaboration with the network 5G low latency. These technologies allow the operator to see what is happening around the truck in real time as if they were sitting behind the wheel.
Einride uses NVIDIA technology integrated into its Orin processor, with which it is possible to achieve level 5 autonomous driving. This platform has a processing capacity of 200 billion operations per second. The high-performance artificial intelligence that manages the data thus becomes a learning base that allows the user to navigate the unpredictability of the real world.
The pilot program on public roads It will start during the third quarter of this year. The vehicle will be merged with existing fleet operations into a manufacturing facility for GE Appliances, an American home appliance manufacturer based in Louisville, Kentucky. Your job will consist of moving merchandise between your warehouses, for which you will have to move on public roads solving real traffic situations.
“We are creating a more sustainable and efficient supply chain through increased electrification and automation in our manufacturing and distribution operations,” said Bill Good, vice president of supply chain for GE Appliances. “We appreciate working with Einride to demonstrate how their Pod technology can help us accelerate that goal.”