Some mastodon-looking vehicles are going to be sharing the roads pretty soon. Their technology goes beyond our current definition of a Tesla-like ‘autonomous’ vehicle. These are the real thing.
A Swedish company has received approval from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to operate its fleet on certain roads in America.
You will notice that it does not have a cab for the driver.
These Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) trucks, will start self-driving on public roads — but will still have a remote driver in a separate location ready to take control at a moment’s notice.
In fact, the “pod trucks” don’t even have room for a human driver. There’s no traditional cab at all.
Einride wants to electrify and automate the freight industry.
Einride founder and CEO Robert Falck explained the vision: “Other companies are retrofitting existing trucks to become autonomous, but we are doing the opposite. We are building a brand new way to do autonomous shipping from the ground up which results in this new type of vehicle design and functionality.”
This is a new type of vehicle which has never before been seen on U.S. roads before.
It is a major milestone for the company, and the freight industry overall. Falck said the technology behind its Pod truck would revolutionize transportation while creating thousands of jobs.
How that will happen will remain to be seen. There are some 3.5-million truck drivers in America, and another 4-million employed in trucking-related work. It is one of the most popular occupations in the country. The number of drivers is at an all-time high, with about 230,000 openings projected every year for the next decade.
The job pays a middle-class wage, but few people want it. The lifestyle is tough. Drivers barely see your family, rarely get a shower, and get little respect from car drivers, police or major retailers. Some have been divorced twice; others put on unhealthy weight from sitting all day eating snack food.
However, it’s been called “the easiest money you can make without a college degree.”