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Feds approve driverless, cabless truck for operation on U.S. roads

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An autonomous vehicle technology company announced approval from federal transportation officials to begin testing driverless trucks on American roadways.

According to a Thursday announcement from Swedish freight tech company Einride, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has approved the company’s Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) for use on public roadways in the U.S.

Einride says that with this approval from the NHTSA, they will conduct a “public road pilot to support operational flows for customer GE Appliances, a Haier company, showcasing the Einride Pod’s purpose-built functionality for future commercialization.”

The company plans to launch the pilot program during late summer 2022 at a GE Appliances manufacturing facility near Memphis, Tennessee. During the pilot, the company says that the Pods will operate on public roads with mixed traffic while executing real life workflows, with a human operating the vehicle remotely at all times. 

“The autonomous and electric Einride Pod’s design does not leave room for a driver on board and is instead remotely monitored by a Remote Pod Operator, marking this pilot as an industry first for this new type of vehicle,” the company noted in a news release announcing the pilot program.

“This is a type of vehicle that has never before been seen on U.S. roads and marks a major milestone as a turning point for the future of the freight industry,” said Robert Falck, CEO and Founder at Einride. “We know the autonomous and electric technology of our pod will not only revolutionize transportation but also create thousands of jobs and help America stay competitive.

“We are creating a more sustainable and efficient supply chain through increased electrification and automation in our manufacturing and distribution operations,” said Bill Good, Vice President of Supply Chain for GE Appliances. “We’ve appreciated working with Einride in demonstrating how their Pod technology can help us accelerate achievement of that goal.”

See a video demo of the technology below.

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