Einride and logistics customer DB Schenker believe this is a world first - a driverless electric truck operating on public roads.
(Driverless electric truck)
Einride’s T-Pod is 26 tonnes when full and does not have a driver cabin, which it estimates reduces road freight operating costs by around 60 percent versus a diesel truck with a driver.
Besides Schenker, Einride has orders from German grocer Lidl, Swedish delivery company Svenska Retursystem and five Fortune 500 retail companies, underpinning its ambition to have 200 vehicles in operation by the end of 2020.
Freight operators are under pressure to reduce delivery times, cut emissions and face a growing shortage of drivers.
Schenker picked Einride over established truckmakers as the T-Pod straddles the two biggest sector transformations: digitization and electrification, CEO Jochen Thewes said.
In his 1956 story The Corkscrew of Space, sf legend Poul Anderson described self-driving trucks called electrotrucks:
As he watched, [the spacecraft] entered its cradle and was wheeled off toward the waiting electrotrucks. Unloading began immediately; the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles toward the warehouses.
There have been a number of electric truck premieres: