Sweden Launches World’s First Driverless Truck Deliveries
Autonomous freight deliveries have hit the road
While Amazon is taking drastic measures to get more drivers out on the road delivering packages, Sweden is going driverless.
The first driverless truck hit public roads in Jonkoping, Sweden, on Wednesday, beginning daily freight deliveries that developer Einride calls a world first, Reuters reported.
“This public road permit is a major milestone … and it is a step to commercializing autonomous technology on roads,” said Einride CEO Robert Falck, who told Reuters the Swedish startup was in partnership talks with major suppliers.
“Since we’re a software and operational first company, a partnership with a manufacturing company is something that we see as a core moving forward,” he said.
The electric truck, called a T-Pod, weighs 26 tons when full and does not have a driver cabin. Einride estimates the T-Pod reduces road freight operating costs by around 60 percent compared to a driver-operated diesel truck.
The self-driving truck uses a Nvidia Drive platform to process visual data, which allows it to function at level four autonomy — the second highest category — while an operator located miles away can control up to 10 vehicles at a time.
Currently, the T-Pod can make short trips between a warehouse and a terminal on a public road in an industrial area in Jonkoping.
According to Falck, Einride has plans to apply next year for more public route permits. The company hopes to have 200 vehicles in operation by the end of 2020. Einride, whose investors include ex-Daimler Asia trucks head Marc Llistosellaalso, also hopes to expand its driverless delivery system to the United States.
“Ground zero for autonomous vehicles is the United States,” Falck told Reuters. “I think it will be the first market to scale when it comes to autonomous vehicles.”
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