Swedish autonomous vehicle manufacturer Einride has launched the next generation of its electric and self-driving ‘Pod’.
The new vehicle is available globally and is aimed at businesses looking to make autonomous last mile deliveries as early as next year.
The Pods can operate independently, do not require platooning and are able to pull into and connect to charging stations on their own.
Einride launched the Pod with a marketing push with BBC show Top Gear, where the vehicle became the first autonomous and electric heavy transport vehicle to set a lap of the TV show's famous track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England (see video below).
Einride said the new Pod is capable of level 4 self-driving and the company said this would enable businesses to reduce transport costs by up to 60% and CO2 emissions by 90%.
Level 4 autonomous means that no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat.
However, self-driving is supported only in limited spatial areas (geofenced) or under special circumstances.
Outside of these areas or circumstances, the vehicle must be able to safely abort the trip, e.g. slow down and park the car, if the driver does not retake control.
An example would be a robotic taxi or a robotic delivery service that only covers selected locations in a specific area, at a specific service time.
Available for pre-order, there are different versions of the Pod available with AET 1 and 2 suitable for closed fenced facilities, harbours and public roads with the AET 3 and 4, available from 2023, boasting high speed functionality suited to long-distance highways and larger warehouses.
Einride founder, Robert Falck said: “We can already see a strong traction from the market to start using autonomous and electric transport.
“The benefits are clear and we want to be the player in the market that can help our customers to make the transition to a better future of transport happen.”