Einride Portraits: Erik, Software Engineer
Einride Portraits: Erik, Software Engineer
Erik Bohnsack has a love of learning and a passion for sharing knowledge. He experiences this not only in his day job – where he works with autonomous driving technology – but also in his favorite meditative space: the garden. The software engineer reflects on his own career growth – and his commitment to nurturing the growth of others – throughout his 5 years as an Einride team member.
What is your role at Einride?
I am a software engineer working on the Automated Drive System (ADS), which is the technology that controls our autonomous vehicles. There are several teams who work on that – including one that focuses on perception and another that focuses on motion control, amongst others – however, I sit within the ADS Platform team. We are responsible for the computers in the autonomous vehicles as well as the networks and data handling in the vehicles. In other words, we build the “platform” on which the other teams work.
How did you find yourself working at Einride?
My Einride journey started when I met Einride’s founding engineer at a careers fair. It was an incredibly inspiring discussion, and before I knew it, I had joined Einride as an intern. Soon after that, I was a full-time employee. Prior to all this, I had been completing my Master’s at Chalmer’s University in systems control and mechatronics. So working at Einride connects nicely with that!
How do you reflect on your journey since 2018?
When I look back, I see a very inspired “me”. I’ve always been impressed by the people I work with, even back when we were a team of just 50 people – as opposed to the several hundred we are now. The vision the company is built around continues to inspire me today. Having said that, in the earlier days, being a young graduate and trying to soak up all this knowledge from the brilliant colleagues around me, and having the opportunity to work at the intersection of tech and sustainability – it was like the world had opened up for me.
In 2019, we became the first company in the world to successfully deploy a cabless autonomous heavy-duty vehicle to a public road. That was hugely exciting for us, but upon reflection, I can appreciate that there was so much more to come – and even now, I feel like we’re making exciting breakthroughs all the time. Autonomous technology is leaping forward, and to be at the forefront of that – working with technology that’s live in client operations – is a real privilege.
Have you experienced much professional growth over that time?
Absolutely – thinking about the trajectory I’ve taken in my career really makes me value the years I’ve had so far at Einride. In 2018, I was walking into my first job out of university. And it was an emerging company with bold ideas. And in the years since, I’ve seen the company push forward, take on challenges and tick off milestones.
Throughout this time, the scope of my responsibilities has evolved rapidly. I’ve had the chance to be the team lead in a couple of teams over the years. I’ve gained a wealth of professional experience that I’m grateful for – not just in software engineering but also in organizational tech management. To be fair, the company has also faced a lot of unforeseen hurdles and setbacks and has had to navigate those, so it’s not all been smooth sailing. But we’ve come so far, we’re evolving and adapting, and I do believe we’re just getting started.
Would you say you’ve helped other colleagues in their career growth?
I’m continuing to learn more every day. And what is just as rewarding as growing yourself is helping others to grow. There are many different dimensions of this, from solid technical knowledge to progressive technical practices to effective communication practices – and more. It’s amazing how much you can learn from your colleagues helping you.
I do like to pay it forward where I can. I know what a journey I’ve had and how it’s shaped me for the better. And I’ve come to very much appreciate how valuable it is for an organization to have its team be as knowledgeable as possible. I’d like to think I can support the goals of my organization by passing on the valuable knowledge that’s been passed on to me.
What are some of your highlights from working at Einride?
Setting the speed record for an autonomous electric freight vehicle at the Top Gear track is a huge highlight for me in my Einride career – something I’m still proud of to this day. It was in 2020, and the autonomous vehicle reached a speed of over 80 kilometers per hour. It was such a historic accomplishment, and the feeling of inspiration and motivation we shared in the lead-up to the demonstration has never left me.
Another highlight is something that happens every week. It always brightens my Friday when I see an update from our emission-savings messaging bot, which shows us how many tonnes of CO2e have been saved as a result of our shipper customers going electric with Einride, as opposed to running diesel vehicles to move that same volume of goods. You can see, clearly, that we’re driving a measurable change. That’s something I really value.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy being out in nature – hiking, foraging for mushrooms, being out in the water. And my challenge for this winter is to see how much I can ski!
One of my biggest passions is gardening – I even have an arm tattoo of a watering can. There aren’t many activities that I feel are as meditative as gardening. My parents had a patch of land for growing crops. I didn’t take much of interest in it when I was a child, but during my student years I started to develop a keen interest in growing tomatoes. You could say my interest in gardening – to use a bad pun – has kept growing since.
These past few years, I’ve been fortunate to live in an apartment block which has its own garden space. And I’ve been helping community organizers by nurturing the space for usage among fellow residents – so I guess my interest in sharing knowledge extends to gardening as well.
I love harvesting and creating fancy – or even weird – stuff based on what nature has to offer. Anything from pickled spruce tips to lilac kombucha to fermented plums to cloudberry syrup! More recently, I’ve ventured into growing flowers – prior to this, I had only ever grown vegetables. It’s certainly a luxurious experience to be able to go downstairs and make yourself a bouquet of flowers for decorating your home.
Want to join Erik in taking on exciting challenges, experiencing professional growth, and driving impactful change? You can browse our open roles – including Machine Learning Engineers in Stockholm or Gothenburg – on the Einride careers page.