Freight mobility leader Einride has launched the next generation of its groundbreaking Pod, with new functionality and pricing, making it commercially available on a global scale for the first time.
In 2019 Einride became the first in the world to drive a fully autonomous and electric heavy transport vehicle on a public road, and has been testing and operating Pods at select customer sites in Sweden. Now, businesses around the world can reserve the future of freight and start shipping sustainably and cost-competitively with Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) coordinated by the intelligent freight mobility platform.
“We started this journey in 2016 with a dream to build a better future through technology. Years of hard work and dedication from the whole team at Einride have made us the leader in AET, and today we are taking the next step to bring our solutions to the world and ramp up the transition to a more sustainable future of transport,” said Robert Falck, CEO and founder of Einride.
The new Pod features a refined design, making it more aerodynamic and functional but also preparing it for wide-scale production and commercialization. For the first time, the Pod is available for reservation for those looking to transition away from the analog, inefficient diesel transport solutions of today to a freight mobility solution that is safer, more sustainable, and more cost-effective.
Most self-driving vehicles are designated by SAE J3016 levels of autonomy, ranging from purely assistive (level 0) to fully autonomous, able to drive anywhere on their own under any conditions (level 5). However, these standards rely on some level of human operation as a baseline. The Pod has no driver’s compartment whatsoever, so it was necessary for Einride to develop a proprietary methodology for describing the use cases for Autonomous Electric Transport (AET).
“The Pod is a completely novel vehicle, and therefore doesn’t fit into existing standards, even for cutting-edge technologies like autonomy. We created the AET classification system based on use cases for a driverless, electric freight vehicle. With this approach, we are able to develop and scale our capabilities in the most common and appropriate use cases for freight, with the ultimate goal of automating as much of the transport network as possible,” said Pär Degerman, CTO of Einride.
The AET classification system ranges from levels 1 to 5, and levels 1 to 4 are available for pre-order based on individual business needs. AET 1 (Fenced) is ideal for closed facilities with predetermined routes that are best suited for fully-autonomous operation. AET 2 (Nearby) includes closed facility operation, but adds the capability to traverse public roads over short distances between destinations. Both AET 1 and 2 Pods are available for reservation now, and will begin shipping to customers starting next year.
AET 3 (Rural) takes the Pod’s functionality to the next level, allowing operation on backroads and less busy main roads between facilities, at a maximum operating speed of 45 km/h. Finally, AET 4 (Highway) includes fully autonomous operation on freeways and other major roads at up to 85 km/h. Levels 3 and 4 are available for pre-order, and will ship to customers in 2022-2023.
The Pod’s iconic shape has been refined for the next generation, both to improve functionality and to prepare it for production at scale. The rounded edges and features give it a more aerodynamic shape for improved performance, but do not impede on cargo capacity.
Additionally, high-performance lighting is integrated into the Pod’s signature frontal feature, making it both road legal and instantly recognizable. The rear lights have been extended the entire height of the cargo bay for maximum visibility for other road users, improving safety and emphasizing the functionality of the design.
“The design of the new Pod reflects our changing identity as a company. With our recent brand identity project, a central focus was on the symbiotic relationship between software and hardware in freight mobility. It’s a symbol of our accomplishments in pioneering the category of AET, but also emphasizes our commitment to developing software solutions that make the transition to sustainable freight seamless,” said Linnéa Kornehed, CMO and co-founder of Einride.