Einride, a Swedish technology company that designs, develops and sells driverless electrified trucks and logistical solutions, has announced it will be hiring the first autonomous and remote truck operator in the freight mobility space.
The company said new operators will be hired in Sweden in March and in the U.S. in the third quarter.
Einride said the first drivers are slated to hit the street in Sweden for commercial purposes later this year, with the first American drivers getting to work in the fourth quarter.
In the coming years, as SAE Level 4 self-driving technology is implemented on scale, trucking will change fundamentally, Einride noted. Looking towards the future, the company said it has made the decision to hire a former truck driver as its first dedicated autonomous truck operator, opening a new category of jobs.
A first-of-its-kind role, according to the company, the operator will work closely with Einride’s tech team to provide feedback on the development of Einride’s remote driver station – and help shape the working environment of tomorrow’s truckers.
The driver will be responsible for the remote control driving of Einride Tpods and training will incorporate safety and security instruction, basic driving lessons, and an extensive understanding of the external technology operating system.
The structured rollout plan will include a nine-month trial period, which will incorporate a research and development phase.
This new role will be designed in conjunction with the training period and incorporate feedback from trainees, which will optimize the overall experience and guidelines for future drivers. The next steps will involve the transitioning of additional on-road truck drivers to remote autonomous truck operators.
“Today, our autonomous pods are operated by developers – robot engineers trained to drive trucks. A commercially scalable solution must rely on truck drivers, trained to remote-operate robots. The ins-and-outs of that future is what we’re investigating now, by involving truck drivers in the process,” said Robert Falck, founder, and CEO of Einride.
In a press release detailing the new hiring push, Einride described the future of the trucking industry as “bleak.” The company cited American Trucking Associations' research that found in 2017 that the U.S. needed 51,000 more truck drivers than are currently working. Those numbers are expected to keep rising, the company said, with millennials seemingly uninterested in joining that labor force.
Additionally, the company noted, only about 6% of U.S. truck drivers are females -- leaving far more than half of the workforce untouched.
Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to witness a 12% growth in computer and information technology jobs during the period 2014 to 2024, making a move to grow the autonomous truck operation sector a vital one not only for the health and financial prosperity it will provide to drivers, but the sustainable impact it will make on emissions.
In this environment, Einride predicts that by implementing the use of remote autonomous truck operators, they will:
- Reduce fuel/energy costs by 70%
- Lower transportation costs by 30%, bringing the ratio to 1:10 human driver per vehicle
- Cut operating costs by 60% and increase productivity by 200%
- Reduce CO2 emissions by 90%
“The continued development of autonomous vehicles will place new demands on the workforce and raises questions about the future working environment of drivers/operators,” said Falck. “We are excited to open up an entirely new category of jobs, that will not only benefit the industries currently employees with improved hours, working conditions, and knowledge, but reinvigorate a dying employment sector for the next wave job seekers.”