Enride provides digital, electric, and autonomous shipping company received approvals from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The company will now be able to operate autonomous electric transport vehicles on public roads in the US. Operational flows for customer GE Applications will be having these services, showcasing Enride’s purpose-built functionality.
The autonomous and electric Enride Pod’s design doesn’t have space for a driver to be on board. It can be remotely controlled and monitored. This type of vehicle is an industry first. Enride Pod will be used on roads, with real traffic and other workflows. The movement of goods and coordination with teams at various warehouses will all be done with the pod. The unloading and loading process will be automated in coordination with the teams.
However, a remote Pod operator will be closely looking at the activities. It is the first kind, to be operated this way. Safely scaling autonomous vehicles ensures that the activities are monitored and also creates jobs for humans. This could be paving the path for future ways of shipping. The first public road pilot will take place in Q3 of 2022. The first customer of Enride who will get to experience this would be GE appliances. The manufacturing facilities, including existing operations, are all in place for the new adaptability.
Einride says this milestone marks the first time a purpose-built autonomous electric truck has received permission to operate on public roads, however, it is reminiscent of autonomous vehicle company Nuro’s 2020 request for a temporary exemption from certain low-speed vehicle standard requirements. Nuro’s vehicles, which deliver food and groceries using public roads, are also built without space for a driver or passengers. The company, therefore, needed NHTSA approval to use a new type of vehicle that isn’t built with certain human-centered features, like mirrors or a windshield.
“This new pilot will take us out onto public roads for the first time in the U.S., allowing short shipments on routes that utilize public roads as well as fenced areas,” said Falck, noting that the pod will operate between a fenced warehouse and public roads. “What we’re building with these various pilots is a clear business case of how our Einride Pods can support commercialization for customers, in a variety of environments.”
It’s not clear how many runs the pod will do each day, but per the limits of its approval with NHTSA, Einride’s pod will only operate during daylight hours on weekdays, and it will avoid adverse weather and road conditions like heavy rain, snow, fog, hail or temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The pod has the ability, however, to operate in such conditions due to lidar and cameras, the company said.