As we're expanding our operations in the US, we couldn’t miss out on this year's SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in Austin. Not only is the city and its surrounding areas home to one of our regional offices and a growing part of our team, but we also value the local community as breeding ground for an extraordinary intersectionality of education, policy, technology, people and the arts. As SXSW captures all of that and more, we sent our team to introduce Einride to the audience and gathered some valuable inspiration ourselves.
During the conference, Niklas Reinedahl, our Head of US Operations, shared Einride’s vision for stateside expansion and regulation – including our commitment to create 2,000 jobs in the next five years, as well as the fact that at least 40% of US road freight transportation could go electric today at a lower cost than diesel. The delivery of our vision was further reinforced by the participation of Michelle Avary, Einride's VP Product Strategy & Government Affairs, in the event’s panel discussion on Austin's Rise as a Transportation Hub (read more here).
Perhaps most excitingly though, as part of the Creative Industries Expo we unveiled the world’s first Remote Pod Operator, former long-haul trucker Tiffany Heathcott, who will play a pivotal role in redefining how autonomous vehicles operate both in the US and globally and who – for the first time ever – demonstrated the technology behind the Remote Pod Operation Station to the public and media. The demo was followed by three more days on which attendees had the opportunity to participate in a modified version of the operation themselves, gaining a front row glance at the future of autonomous as they operated an Einride Pod across the world in Sweden.
But this was not the only first that marked the event. It was also the first time that many consumers got to see our Flatbed Pod Prototype and thereby witness the power of our products in person, as well as the first time that potential customers, prospects and future Einride employees could physically come together after months of contact restrictions. We were able to get a lot of great feedback from this unique audience and returned from the festival with the satisfaction of having left not only a future vision but a lasting impression – of a technology that’s real today and here to stay.