Einride’s T-Pod self-driving truck is a cargo-hauling box on wheels

Einride T-Pod self-driving truck
A host of companies are developing self-driving cars, but what about self-driving trucks? Uber is probably the biggest player in this nascent field, thanks to its 2016 acquisition of startup Otto. But a Swedish company called Einride hopes to give Uber and other competitors a run for their money by taking the concept of self-driving trucks to a new level.

Einride’s T-Pod does not have room onboard for a human driver. It is a windowless box on wheels, powered by electric motors. The truck is about 23 feet long and can carry 15 standard cargo pallets, according to Einride. It weighs 20 tons fully loaded. Its power comes from a massive 200-kilowatt-hour battery pack, providing up to 124 miles of driving per charge, Einride says.

Even without a human driver onboard, though, the T-Pod will not be autonomous all of the time. It will drive itself unassisted on highways, but a human operator will take over via remote control in cities and other more complex environments where the truck’s systems might not be up to the job.

Einride has a fairly aggressive timetable for the T-Pod. It wants to deliver the first truck to a customer this fall, according to Engadget. By 2020, it plans to have 200 trucks operating on a designated route between the Swedish cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg, carrying up to 2 million pallets of cargo per year.

That means Einride could leapfrog companies like Uber, which has not partnered with a vehicle manufacturer for its autonomous-truck tech, or Waymo and Amazon, which have expressed interest in self-driving trucks but have not launched development programs yet. Volvo is testing autonomous commercial trucks, including a self-driving garbage truck.

But to get the T-Pod on the road, Einride will need to develop its own manufacturing infrastructure, which is not exactly easy to do. It must also convince regulators and the general public that having 20-ton vehicles on the road with no human drivers is a good idea. The public is already somewhat uneasy about self-driving cars, so it is hard to say how people will react to a driverless vehicle like the T-Pod.

All autonomous vehicles face regulatory questions and those questions will be even more pointed in the heavily regulated trucking industry. Truckers themselves might also oppose autonomous vehicles as a potential threat to their jobs, creating an additional challenge for the companies trying to deploy them.


Ford’s self-driving cars hit the streets of the nation’s capital

Ford is deploying self-driving cars in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate their capabilities to lawmakers and ordinary citizens alike. The automaker plans to launch a production autonomous car in 2021.

Drive.ai's free on-demand self-driving car service is now available in Frisco

After deploying its self-driving shuttles in Frisco, California-based start-up Drive.ai is launching a second pilot program in Arlington. Riding in a shuttle -- which operates in a geo-fenced area -- is free.

U.K. on-demand car service plans autonomous vehicles in London by 2021

U.K.-based Addison Lee and Oxbotica allied to serve the connected and autonomous vehicle services market. Addison Lee is an established executive car service and Oxbotica develops self-driving car systems and fleet management software.
Emerging Tech

Flying food: Uber has set a target date to use drones for meal delivery

Uber is better known for transporting people around town, but it also has a growing meal-delivery business called UberEats. It currently uses drivers and cyclists to deliver the food, but also has plans to use drones.

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.

Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.

The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 with over 700 horsepower, Ford confirmed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The GT500 will be the most powerful Ford production car ever.

Volkswagen’s next-generation lights will keep you safer, look good doing it

Volkswagen's new smart LED headlights, called IQ.Light, don't just light up the road in front of you to keep you, other drivers, and pedestrians safe. They also look dang good while doing it.

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second electric car will fill a new niche

Porsche surprised us at the Geneva Auto Show with an electric station wagon named Mission E Cross Turismo. Though it's a concept car, it could become a production model after the Mission E sedan arrives in showrooms.

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford briefly flashed an enigmatic new model in a minute-long commercial starring Bryan Cranston. Its front end borrows styling cues from the 2019 Mustang, but it doesn't have a grille and its emblem is back-lit.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!