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NHTSA gives OK for autonomous Einride Pods on public roadways

System will be remotely operated in pilot test with GE Appliances

The NHTSA has approved the Einride Pod autonomous vehicle for on-road operation. It will begin a test with GE Appliances. (Photo: Einride)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved the Einride Pod autonomous vehicle for operation on public roads.

Einride said the company will begin an on-road pilot program with the Pod in collaboration with customer GE Appliances in an expansion of a program that began last year. The GE pilot announced in November features 20 units transporting goods around GE’s 750-acre Appliance Park campus in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time, Einride said it would also operate at GE facilities in Tennessee and Georgia.

The new on-road pilot will be conducted in the third quarter. An exact location was not disclosed.

“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 of 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.”

In the pilot, the Einride Pod will operate on public roads, moving goods and coordinating with teams at various warehouses for loading and unloading. A remote pod operator will remotely monitor the vehicle, a cabless box on wheels with no space for a driver at all times, Einride said.


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“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.”

Sweden-based Einride set up a U.S. headquarters in New York in November. In all, the company expects to create at least 2,000 U.S. jobs within the next five years.

The U.S. version of the Einride Pod, which is used in the GE Appliances program, features the same SAE International Level 4 self-driving technology and safety architecture as its older European sibling but has been adapted to better handle U.S. roads and conditions. In an interview with Modern Shipper in November, Falck said the primary changes are meant to address U.S. braking and other technical requirements.

Einride is also planning a Flatbed Pod with a body type that can handle a variety of cargo configurations, including shipping containers.

Testing of the Einride Pod initially began in Europe in 2019. Global customers include Coca-Cola, SKF, a Sweden-based bearing and seal manufacturer, and Lidl, an international discount retailer chain. Falck said the company hopes to have almost 500 units in testing by the end of the year.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected].