Imagining a truck with no steering wheel, no windshield and no pedal, actually a truck with no cab is difficult, at least to me. Yet this is what Einride is proposing for the future of freight hauling. You can see the prototype in the photo. A prototype that should hit the market in 2021.
Einride is a Swedish company, a start up, that has been developing concept and prototypes over the last five years. Now it is stepping up to produce them. Previous prototypes are in use by Oatly and DB Shenker for food transport. Another is being tested for log (wood) transport.
The new series will be delivered in four versions, with a freight capacity of 16 tons and a range between 130-180 km. They differ in their top speed (from 30 to 80 km/h). Each version is designed for use in a specific environment (close domain, nearby destination, rural. The self-driving capability is supported by Nvidia hardware and software. This latter has been adapted by Einride.
All AET version achieve level 4 self-driving capabilities and all can be remotely supervised, with one operator able to control several AET at the same time. Basically, if an AET gets into a situation where human assistance is needed it will stop waiting for a remote human operator to take over.
Einride claims a cost saving of 60% (because of self-driving) and a 90% reduction in emission (because of electrical power). Several analysts foresee the trucking sector as the first to make heavy use of self-driving vehicles. Most of current trials are using normal trucks with add-on to provide the self driving capability. Einride is the only one that is getting rid of the cab and design the self driving truck from scratch.