The concept of self-driving cars has been around for many years but it is only in the last few that companies have started making notable, public progress. Currently, Google, Apple and Samsung have all thrown hats into the ring of this emerging technology but Swedish startup Einride wants to take it one step further with its self-driving truck.
In fact, most experts believe that the first industry to be affected by this technology will be the trucking sector as most driving will be confined to the highways and would eliminate the problem of the long-haul most truckers have to endure.
Einride’s all-electric T-pod is actually much shorter than the traditional tractor trailer at just 23 feet long on account of it lacking the entire cab made for the driver. Einride revealed that the T-pod will weigh 20 tons at full load and can be controlled remotely by a human operator, or operate autonomously.
Starting in Sweden, Einride are set for prototype testing this year, operating “between the cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg” that will cover a capacity of 2 million pallets per year. The company says “that corresponds to 400,000 passenger cars on the same route”. The set goal is currently an active fleet of 200 T-Pods by 2020. The T-Pods will indefinitely reduce emissions by operating entirely on electric, but strikes a concern on unemployment.
CEO of Einride, Robert Falck attempts to quell fears of job loss by saying, “Our vision is to enhance the lives of all people through the delivery of a global, impact-positive supply chain infrastructure. We don’t believe our work is done when we’ve achieved carbon neutrality. Our design process is driven by our goal to have a net positive impact – whether that’s improving the lives of transport workers or reducing road traffic accidents, every element of our system aims to have a measurable positive impact on the planet.” A recent study, however, found that autonomous trucks could lessen the demand for drivers by as much as 70 percent in the US and Europe by 2030.
KitGuru Says: It’s difficult to tell the outcome of autonomous vehicles, with all depictions in fictional media being bleak and dystopian. The aim is to enrich our lives but can it really do that without destroying lives in the process? What do you think about self-driving motors?