Swedish Startup Paves Way to Driverless Pod Tests on US Roads

Swedish Startup Paves Way to Driverless Pod Tests on US Roads

Electric truckmaker Einride AB has received approvals to test its driverless vehicle on public roads in the US, paving the way for the company to conduct a pilot with partner GE Appliances.

The approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration marks “the first time a purpose-built autonomous, electric truck without a driver on board receives public road permission,” Einride said Thursday.

The Swedish company’s driverless Einride Pod will be remotely monitored by a human operator, while transporting goods on public roads with mixed traffic. Initially it’s just one cabless pod on the streets as well as tests with teams at various warehouses for loading and unloading.

Einride and GE Appliances, a Haier company, partnered in October last year to implement Einride’s electric and cabless pods on a GEA campus in Louisville, Kentucky. The first tests took place on predetermined routes and a controlled environment.

“We believe that the technology needed for mass adoption of autonomy is here and ready now,” Einride Chief Executive Officer Robert Falck said in an email. “This NHTSA approval is a critical step to make sure the mass adoption of autonomous and electric, specifically for the US, is in the near future.”