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Einride's autonomous vehicle during daily operations at customer GE Appliances in Selmer, Tennessee
2 min read

Real-life operations push the boundaries of autonomous technology

2 min read

Real-life operations push the boundaries of autonomous technology

Autonomous heavy-duty vehicles aren’t ready to go out in dense areas or coexist round-the-clock with urban traffic. Not yet. But the industry will get there, believe me. I usually say that autonomous transportation is the engineering challenge of a lifetime.

To realize this future, a step-by-step approach led by innovation and safety has to be top of mind. What does it mean in reality? The technology needs to be constantly assessed and developed in controlled environments that are exponentially expanded to address new and more complex issues. You start with test tracks, run pilot projects, and graduate to full-time operations. And repeat for each new use case.

Last week, Einride announced daily live operations at GE Appliances in Tennessee after completing a successful public road pilot in October of last year, the first of its kind in the United States. Tons of factors make it unique, but the most significant one is that we’re running it on an actual customer site, a commercial environment with a road connecting different warehouses. In its first week, our autonomous electric vehicle moved 350 units of air conditioner per day.

In the small town of Selmer, our entire business model comes together – this future we envision becomes a very tangible place: digital, electric and autonomous.

Located about 100 miles east of Memphis, Selmer is a valuable spot for this purpose. The site is really far out of the public network, which pushes our team to handle some extreme connectivity issues – a crucial element in scaling the solution.

As you may have noticed from the image above, our vehicle doesn’t have a cab. It was purposefully built to move goods from one place to another. Einride’s technology uses a Remote Interface and a certified remote operator to ensure safety at all times and a smooth transition to autonomous operations, everything supported by a state-of-the-art freight operating system, Einride Saga. The location helps to expose the limitations of current connectivity solutions and creates the perfect scenario for technological breakthroughs.

There are also improvements that come from the different challenges our AET faces on the way. Gravel roads and steep inclinations offer the opportunity to polish our algorithms as the vehicle and its sensors react to different conditions. Real-life operations are essential to pushing the boundaries of technology

It’s gratifying to be able to achieve that with a partner like GE Appliances that shares the same ambition we have for innovation. With the help of senior supply chain leader Harry Chase, the site is experimenting with different technologies to automate its flow with slip robotics and other exciting tools. It’s the perfect match.

Henrik Green

GM Autonomous Technologies at Einride

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