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Automation is the future of the trucking industry and many companies are racing to put their model on the market first. The goal is to develop a model that has Level 5 autonomy. A vehicle has achieved Level 5 autonomy when it is operated either by remote control or completely on its own. No model on the market has achieved this but Einride, a Swedish startup, may have made a break through.
Einride has developed the T-Pod, which is an electric truck that has achieved level 5 autonomy and has 23 feet of cargo space. It does not have a cabin because it does not need a driver. It looks like a trailer without the truck.
Einride hopes to run a fleet of these trucks that will haul cargo between Gothenburg and Helsingborg, which is a distance of 219 kilometers. If everything goes well, the fleet can move 2 million pallets every year. The T-Pod will undergo testing and trials later this year. After that, Einride has ambitions for the global market.
Developing an electric truck that is capable of making long trips is an accomplishment in itself. The fact that it has obtained Level 5 autonomy is even more impressive. The T-Pod could revolutionize the European trucking industry if it does well in its tests. However, how would it do in the American trucking industry?
The T-Pod will be able to travel 219 kilometers if everything goes as planned, which is about 136 miles. That is the distance between Philadelphia and Washington DC. A truck traveling a 55 mph can make that trip in less than 3 hours in light traffic. That is not good enough for fleets that have to haul loads cross-country, which is most of them.
There is also the issue that there is no space for a driver. Uber's Otto was able to deliver a load of beer cans last year using a truck fitted with a special system that made it autonomous. However, someone was in the truck just in case something went wrong. If something was to go wrong with the T-Pod, it cannot be dealt with immediately because there is no driver, which can waste a lot of time and money.
The Einride T-Pod is a technological achievement and a giant leap forward for the trucking industry. However, there are still many issues and concerns that must be dealt with before people can put full confidence into it. For more information about the trucking industry, please contact us.
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