Trucks with no drivers coming soon to a road near you?

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By James Raia
The massive trucks likely won’t pass you on the freeway. But don’t be surprised when two new driverless vehicles soon appear on the horizon.

Sweden-based Einride recently released renderings of an autonomous truck it hopes to have on the roads as early as 2021.

Sweden-based Einride recently released renderings of an autonomous trucks it hopes to have on the roads as early as 2021.
Sweden-based Einride recently released renderings of its autonomous trucks it hopes to have on the roads as early as 2021.

The futuristic white vehicle is called the Autonomous Electric Transport. It will be available in four variants – all with the same aerodynamic silhouette.

Four trucks, no drivers

Similar to the company’s previous designs, this model is cabless and allows for greater storage capacity. The first two of four variations — called AET 1 and AET 2 — both weigh 26 tons. They can support payloads of up to 16 tons and have a peak speed of 18 mph.

The larger of the two trucks and the AET 3 and AET 4 have similar configurations and specifications. But the latter two siblings accelerate to 45 mph. The AET 1 and 2 are designed for deliveries in rural areas; the AET 3 and 4 are designed for highway transport.

Einride claims its vehicles have the potential to reduce transportation costs by over half and CO2 emissions by as much as 90 percent.

While all of the vehicles can be controlled remotely, the startup will use software from artificial intelligence specialist Nvidia to achieve Level 4 autonomy. It means the vehicles can be truly driverless within a specific context.

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James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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Karen Willis
9 days ago

If all the vehicles on the road have autonomous capability, it would work. If only some do, how do the driverless vehicles avoid vehicles with distracted drivers?

Phil Atterbery
11 days ago

An autonomous truck that goes from terminal A to terminal B might work. But, wait a minute, couldn’t a light rail frieght train do the same thing? Have BNSF invest in rails between Tulsa & OKC or Salina & Dallas. And those rail lines would also carry people.

rich
11 days ago

that’s just great….throw more people out of work.

Tim McLeod
11 days ago

If you are traveling on I-81 in Virginia and see a futuristic looking Volvo road tractor coming down the highway, it quite possibly is driving itself. Volvo is experimenting with autonomous tow vehicles as well as an all electric road tractor. These quite possibly will be built in the Volvo factory in Dublin, VA.

Ron T
11 days ago

I think these folks still have a lot of technical challenges. Their aerodynamic shape is still a flat-faced box, their cost-saving based on 18 mph rural and 45 mph highway speeds. Yeah, rural drivers really want to be stuck behind one of these while bikers pedal by them.

Bob P
11 days ago

Driverless trucks are a pipe dream! I was a over the road truck driver and from that experience I can say that these ideas are 50 years into the future. The first idea is infrastructure is still 50 years away, it has taken the country 100 years to reach the level of infrastructure we have. Now go out and update every highway to accommodate driverless vehicles, especially class 8 trucks. They will be able to eventually install guidance systems into the roadways, but what do they do when that truck leaves the interstate for it’s final 40 miles to its destination? The 45 mph speed won’t work either the trucking industry calls that a rolling roadblock. Shippers don’t like the 62-68 mph trucks are governed at now because they want their freight delivered yesterday. Very few shippers and consignees are next to the interstate, most are somewhere within a 30-40 mile radius of an interstate, I can’t imagine a county or even a large city installing guidance systems to every business’s dock.

Cheryl Bacon
11 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

I disagree, there are several states already with plans in the works for guidance systems. Like it or not, electric and self-driving vehicles are approaching rapidly. Just because some don’t like change, it doesn’t stop the change from happening. None of this technology is a new concept, it has already been developing for years already.

Ken
11 days ago

Google was the clear leader in the driverless auto space a few years ago. They could have owned the truck transportation industry by now.

Ronald Payne
11 days ago

While i admit to not being all up to date on the technology on driverless trucks,this seems rife for legal liability when an accident occurs,feel the same way about aircraft without a pilot.