Einride, which says its autonomous, electric Pods have the potential to transform shipping networks, for the first time publicly demonstrated how remote operators can monitor and control multiple autonomous, electric Pods from a single remote drive station.
The Sweden-based company foresees a future where up to 10 Pods in a transport network can be monitored simultaneously while in autonomous drive mode, and controlled remotely for more complicated or unforeseen maneuvers, such as parking at a loading dock or avoiding an obstacle.
"The remote operation and oversight of autonomous vehicles require robust real-time video and data transmission, managed through a secure channel over often insecure infrastructure,” explained Pär Degerman, CTO of Einride, in a news release. “With this milestone, we are laying the technical foundation for swift and easy switching between vehicles as well as the ongoing scaling of this functionality. Not only can we switch between monitored vehicles, but also between operators in different geographical locations, increasing the flexibility of our system exponentially.”
As autonomous electric transport vehicles such as the Einride Pod are introduced into a freight network, Einride said, transport managers will be able to employ operators who will monitor and control these driverless vehicles from a remote drive station, starting with two vehicles and eventually expanding up to as many as 10. This has the potential to increase the average workday for a single vehicle from 8 to 24 hours, an increase in productivity of up to 300%.
“Additionally, many tedious or time-consuming tasks will be a thing of the past for operators, as he or she will not have to wait for loading and unloading, refueling or recharging to oversee and operate other vehicles,” notes the release.
Expanding the driver-to-vehicle ratio from one-to-one to one-to-many also has the potential to exponentially improve fleet efficiency in terms of cost, time, and sustainability. Currently, with Einride’s Freight Mobility Platform, shippers are able to track their entire fleets in real-time and optimize routes and schedules for cost and emissions reduction. The platform also provides recommendations on where to introduce low- or zero-emissions transport options into the network.
The company also says the innovation can help transform what it means to be a trucker. “In place of long, tiresome, and potentially dangerous hours on the road, remote operators will have a more stable, safe, and regular work environment. This fundamental shift will be crucial in addressing the systematic problems in the trucking industry, such a shortage of over 51,000 truckers and a gender split that is only 6 percent female in the U.S.”
The hiring process for Einride’s first remote operator is already underway in Sweden, and the first customer applications of this technology will also be implemented this year.
Einride was founded in 2016 by Robert Falck, Linnéa Kornehed and Filip Lilja, and said it was the world’s first company to operate an autonomous, all-electric freight vehicle on a commercial route on a public road. Recently, the company launched the Einride Mobility Platform, a cloud-native transport execution system for autonomous, electric and traditional road transportation. With the platform, customers can use real-time information and actionable insights to implement sustainable, cost-efficient and high performing transport logistics.