Sweden gives go-ahead for road testing of autonomous electric trucks

For a long time now, people have been talking about autonomous driving. You have been told that the manufacturers are working on it and that the big names in technology have been working in this area for years. Today, it is not a big name in technology but a Scandinavian country that is making headlines: Sweden is currently testing self-driving trucks on its roads.

These trucks are called “T-Pods” and have a range of 200 km. They are currently being tested on the roads around Jönköping, Sweden’s tenth largest city, as it is an important road axis. Einride, the company behind this project, would be the first in history to have a road permit to test an autonomous truck, i.e. without a driver on board to supervise anything. That being said, an employee keeps an eye on all this, remotely, and can intervene if necessary. This is a much-needed security measure, no one will dispute that.

The front looks like a Stormtrooper helmet, right? / © Reuters

Einride and DB Shenker, a logistics expert, are working together to test the potential and performance of these 26-tonne trucks which, against all expectations, have a vocation: they are delivery companies whose “simple” mission is to transport goods from one warehouse to another. A software program takes care of the driving, the autonomy is SAE level 4 and uses Nvidia Drive in order to be able to process all the visual data in real time. 5G would have caused problems (lags), Telia had to build two new towers.

The goal for manufacturers would be to have 200 vehicles on the road by the end of 2020.

In addition to being without drivers, these trucks are also electric. Star Wars fans will find that the front panel looks like a Stormtrooper helmet, as Reuters points out. In addition to the technical aspect, this story has the merit of raising some alarming questions about the advent of these technologies and the impact they can have, because for companies the objective is also (not to say especially) to limit costs.

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