Electric Transport Could Change Trucking For the Long Haul

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Image credit: Pat Batcheller

A Swedish tech startup has developed a driverless cargo carrier.

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What’s a truck without a trucker behind the wheel? To one Swedish entrepreneur, it’s an opportunity to revolutionize cargo delivery as we know it.

Behold the T-pod.

The Einride T-pod appeared at Cobo Center in Detroit.Pat Batcheller
Pat Batcheller

The Einride T-pod appeared at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The T-pod is Einride‘s contribution to the wave of electric vehicles sweeping the automotive and transportation industries. According to the company’s web site, this is the first electrically-propelled, self-driving transport vehicle. It has no cabin, so it doesn’t require a driver. Instead, someone operates it remotely. 

Instead of sitting inside a truck, they are operating the system itself,” says Einride CEO Robert Falck. “Instead of removing the driver, we’re giving him a completely new way of working.”

OK, so if they’re not actually driving the T-pod, where are they?

With a cup of coffee in hand, in front of a computer, driving and operating a fleet of T-pods,” Falck says.

The T-pod’s main function is to carry cargo from one point to another, such as a warehouse-to-warehouse trip. Einride says the vehicle can haul up to 15 standard pallets or 20 metric tons of cargo. It can also go 125 miles on a single charge on its 200 kilowatt-hour battery. It may not require an actual driver on board, but Falck says it doesn’t necessarily make the truck driver obsolete. Operators will be trained to work in more controlled environments and how to use the latest information technology.

It’ll be more of a white collar job than a blue collar job,” Falck says. “Having experience from a truck background and knowing what transport is, knowing the business is really going to be beneficial.”

Falck says Einride is testing T-pods in Sweden and hopes to have more than 200 of them on the road by 2020.

Falck spoke with WDET’s Pat Batcheller at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit. Click on the audio player to hear the conversation.

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A look inside the T-pod’s cargo bayPat Batcheller
Pat Batcheller

A look inside the T-pod’s cargo bay

 


Pat Batcheller, Senior News Editor

Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.

pbatcheller@wdet.org Follow @patbwdet

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