Stockholm, Sweden - Today, freight mobility leader Einride launched the next generation of its groundbreaking Pod, with new functionality and pricing, making it commercially available on a global scale for the first time. In 2019 Einride became the first in the world to drive a fully autonomous and electric heavy transport vehicle on a public road, and has been testing and operating Pods at select customer sites in Sweden. Now, businesses around the world can reserve the future of freight and start shipping sustainably and cost-competitively with Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) coordinated by the intelligent freight mobility platform.
“We started this journey in 2016 with a dream to build a better future through technology. Years of hard work and dedication from the whole team at Einride have made us the leader in AET, and today we are taking the next step to bring our solutions to the world and ramp up the transition to a more sustainable future of transport,” said Robert Falck, CEO and founder of Einride.
The new Pod features a refined design, making it more aerodynamic and functional but also preparing it for wide-scale production and commercialization. For the first time, the Pod is available for reservation for those looking to transition away from the analog, inefficient diesel transport solutions of today to a freight mobility solution that is safer, more sustainable, and more cost-effective.
The launch was kicked off with a video filmed by Swedish artist Alexander Wessely and featuring the symphony “Einride” by Jacob Mühlrad played on a player piano. The full video can be seen here:
From fenced to freeway: Introducing AET functionality levels
Most self-driving vehicles are designated by SAE J3016 levels of autonomy, ranging from purely assistive (level 0) to fully autonomous, able to drive anywhere on their own under any conditions (level 5). However, these standards rely on some level of human operation as a baseline. The Pod has no driver’s compartment whatsoever, so it was necessary for Einride to develop a proprietary methodology for describing the use cases for Autonomous Electric Transport (AET).
“The Pod is a completely novel vehicle, and therefore doesn't fit into existing standards, even for cutting-edge technologies like autonomy. We created the AET classification system based on use cases for a driverless, electric freight vehicle. With this approach, we are able to develop and scale our capabilities in the most common and appropriate use cases for freight, with the ultimate goal of automating as much of the transport network as possible,” said Pär Degerman, CTO of Einride.
The AET classification system ranges from levels 1 to 5, and levels 1 to 4 are available for pre-order based on individual business needs. AET 1 (Fenced) is ideal for closed facilities with predetermined routes that are best suited for fully-autonomous operation. AET 2 (Nearby) includes closed facility operation, but adds the capability to traverse public roads over short distances between destinations. Both AET 1 and 2 Pods are available for reservation now, and will begin shipping to customers starting next year.
AET 3 (Rural) takes the Pod’s functionality to the next level, allowing operation on backroads and less busy main roads between facilities, at a maximum operating speed of 45 km/h. Finally, AET 4 (Highway) includes fully autonomous operation on freeways and other major roads at up to 85 km/h. Levels 3 and 4 are available for pre-order, and will ship to customers in 2022-2023.
A groundbreaking freight mobility design, refined
The Pod’s iconic shape has been refined for the next generation, both to improve functionality and to prepare it for production at scale. The rounded edges and features give it a more aerodynamic shape for improved performance, but do not impede on cargo capacity.
Additionally, high-performance lighting is integrated into the Pod’s signature frontal feature, making it both road legal and instantly recognizable. The rear lights have been extended the entire height of the cargo bay for maximum visibility for other road users, improving safety and emphasizing the functionality of the design.
“The design of the new Pod reflects our changing identity as a company. With our recent brand identity project, a central focus was on the symbiotic relationship between software and hardware in freight mobility. It’s a symbol of our accomplishments in pioneering the category of AET, but also emphasizes our commitment to developing software solutions that make the transition to sustainable freight seamless,” said Linnéa Kornehed, CMO and co-founder of Einride.
Industry leaders have already committed to AET
Along with the release of the new Pod, multiple current Einride customers have committed to become launch partners, agreeing to start operating the new Pod with AET functionality in global markets. Lidl Sweden, one of Einride’s original partners has signed on for multiple Pods, and Swedish plant-based milk and dairy product producer Oatly has also agreed to add autonomous operation on top of existing electric truck operations.
In addition to our current collaborators, Bridgestone, a global provider of sustainable mobility and advanced solutions, has also become a launch partner, as well as Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt.
“We are delighted to have the continued support of Lidl and Oatly as current Einride collaborators and now launch partners for the next generation of Pod, as well as exciting new partnerships with industry leaders like Bridgestone and Northvolt. The transition to sustainable and intelligent freight mobility will be a collective effort, so it is encouraging to have forward thinking companies like our launch partners in the fight with us,” said Jonas Hernlund, CCO of Einride.
Get access now, reserve for the future
Businesses will be able to get access to AET 1 and 2 already today and reserve AET 3 and 4 with deliveries in 2022-2023. Both ordering and reservation can be done directly through Einride’s website for an initial cost of $1,500 and additional $8,500 to be invoiced following the reservation.
In addition to the $10,000 reservation fee, businesses will be responsible for an operational fee of approximately $18,000 per month for AET 1 and $19,000 per month for AET 2. Pods with AET 3 will cost $20,000 per month to operate, while AET 4 will include a monthly cost of $22,500. The subscription fee includes access to the Einride freight mobility platform which will coordinate and operate the Pods, overseen by Einride-certified remote operators. Subscription fees are liable to change based on individual use cases.
“We can already see a strong traction from the market to start using autonomous and electric transport. The benefits are clear and we want to be the player in the market that can help our customers to make the transition to a better future of transport happen,” said Robert Falck.
Stay-tuned for something you’ve never seen before
Following the launch of the new Pod, Einride will host a technological showcase on 15 October, demonstrating never-before-seen capability from an unmanned, electric heavy transport vehicle.