Einride, a Swedish startup specializing in autonomous transport, has launched the next generation of its innovative self-driving electric Pods, with new functionality and pricing, making them commercially available on a global scale for the first time.
Since it was founded in 2016, the Swedish startup has dreamed of a fleet of small electric and autonomous trucks, designed for different uses. To achieve its goal, it has developed the vehicles, dubbed Autonomous Electric Transport (AET), in four different variations (corresponding to different use cases). Like Einride’s previous prototypes, they come without steering wheels, pedals, windshields, and, in general, no cab at all.
The new Pod from Einride features a refined design, which makes it more aerodynamic and functional, but also optimizes it for large-scale production and marketing. The driver compartment is also missing here, and the Pod is completely autonomous. The vehicle, however, also has different levels of automation to respect the latest trends in remote driving. From purely assistive (level 0) to fully autonomous (level 5), able to drive anywhere on their own under any conditions.
The iconic shape of the Pod has been refined even further, and now it has the flavor of the future. The rounded edges and sinuous lines give it a more aerodynamic shape for improved performance, but do not hamper the carrying capacity.
One of the most characteristic aspects of these self-driving electric trucks is related to the lights. High-performance lighting is integrated into the front of the Pod, and in the rear that extended the entire height of the cargo bay for maximum visibility for other road users, improving safety and emphasizing the functionality of the design.
Each Pod, regardless of AET level, has Level 4 autonomous driving and can be operated remotely. The AET 1 (Fenced) is ideal for closed facilities with predetermined routes, while AET 2 is permitted to travel outside a geofence using teleoperation. AET 3 is designed for rural settings, allowing operation on backroads and less busy main roads between facilities, at a maximum operating speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). Finally, the AET 4 for highway driving and other major roads at up to 85 km/h (53 mph). The latest generation Pod is expected to travel between 130 and 180 km (80-110 miles) per charge.
Both AET 1 and 2 Pods are available for reservation now and will begin shipping to customers starting next year. Levels 3 and 4 are available for pre-order and will ship to customers in 2022-2023. Both ordering and reservation can be made directly through Einride’s website for an initial cost of $1,500 and an additional $8,500 to be invoiced following the reservation. Besides, businesses will be responsible for an operational fee of approximately $18,000 per month for AET 1 and $19,000 per month for AET 2. Pods with AET 3 will cost $20,000 per month to operate, while AET 4 will include a monthly cost of $22,500.