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Einride Remote Pod Operators Control Multiple Pods

Enride has announced their very first Remote Pod Operator, who has been trained to remotely take over and drive their autonomous electric "pods" (trucks) when needed.

Swedish freight technology company Einride announced today at SXSW the official introduction of the world’s first Remote Pod Operator, a role that has been fulfilled with the hiring of long-time trucking veteran Tiffany Heathcott. The position will shift how humans play a role in the increasing prioritization of autonomous vehicles in the freight industry, enabling a strong safety case that is scalable from day one for shippers looking to automate their shipping fleets.

The Remote Pod Operators will observe and support an Einride Pod that is operating in automated drive mode to ensure they run optimally and safely as they ship goods on behalf of Einride’s customers. Given the pods’ autonomous capabilities, the operators will not drive the vehicles but instead will be able to provide operational support to multiple pods at a time via their Automated Driving Systems, creating further efficiency that will ultimately allow for increased autonomy. In contrast to conventional trucking, remote operation will be safer, involve more regular hours, and provide a more hospitable work environment for operators.

(Via Einride)

In his excellent 2007 novel Halting State, science fiction author Charles Stross describes driverless drones shepherded remotely:

The steering wheel twitches hesitantly, then as the doors click shut it spins hard over and the yuppiemobile accelerates fast. You try not to shudder. You hate the whole idea that some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life - and half a dozen other lives - in his hands.

This basic idea of a teleoperated vehicle is also familiar to fans of Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. In their 1981 novel Oath of Fealty, they describe a telepresence bulldozer - in an unexpectedly far-off and exotic locale.

"Meet Rachel Lief," Lunan said. "Ms. Lief is a bulldozer driver." Lunan paused for effect. "As you see, Ms. Lief doesn't look like your typical tractor driver..."

"But then," Lunan said, "not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon." The cameras followed the trim woman into another room, where there was a replica of a large tractor. It was surrounded by TV screens. One screen showed an astronaut sitting in the driver's seat, staring impatiently into the screen. A bleak, nearly colorless pit showed over his left shoulder.

"About time you got here," the astronaut said.

"We were busy," Rachel sat down in the driver's seat and took hold of the controls. "I relieve you..."

The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine...
(Read more about Pournelle and Niven's telepresence bulldozer)

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