Einride completes autonomous vehicle pilot on U.S. roads
By Becky Schultz03 November 2022
Freight mobility technology company Einride has successfully completed the first operational commercial pilot program utilizing its cabless Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) vehicle on public roads in the U.S. The pilot, conducted in partnership with GE Appliances, took place over a two-week period in Selmer, Tenn., with the driverless vehicle supporting real-time workflows and transporting finished goods between GE Appliances’ manufacturing facility and its warehouse.
Einride announced it had received the first U.S. approval for operations of this new type of vehicle from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this year. The pilot program represents the first time a vehicle of this type has operated fully autonomously on U.S. public roads without a safety driver on board, the company noted.
The AET vehicle, or Pod, has a 20-tonne load capacity and is able to travel a distance of roughly 20 miles per charge. It features SAE level 4 self-driving technology and safety architecture designed to allow for safe driveless operation. Remote operators do not drive the vehicle but provide operational support at all times via the Automated Driving Systems.
GE Appliances began its partnership with Einride in October 2021, deploying both autonomous and electric vehicles. The Selmer facility was chosen as the launch site for the latest pilot due to the nature of the environment for safe testing operations on public roads and real demand for movement of goods.
“Working with Einride on this pilot on public roads in Tennessee helped us better envision and understand what we need to do differently to be at the forefront of autonomous and EV implementation,” commented Harry Chase, senior director of Central Materials, GE Appliances. “At GE Appliances, we believe you need to continuously experiment with new technology in order to learn.”
Throughout the pilot, Einride worked in close partnership with state and county officials and GE Appliances staff. It also partnered with Ericsson, a multinational networking and telecommunications company, to provide a private connectivity network for seamless vehicle functionality and to enable the remote operator to monitor the vehicle.
“The completion of this pilot is a momentous step in the operations of autonomous heavy-duty road freight in the U.S.,” added Robert Falck, CEO and founder at Einride. “This shows how Einride’s new type of vehicle, one that has reshaped the future of shipping, is here today and unlocking real industry change.”