Driverless Truck Einride Denied Road Permit for Lacking Driver’s License

Short on the heels of securing a new round of investments totaling €8.5 million (approximately $10 million at today’s exchange rate), Einride has reportedly hit a roadblock: it can no longer send its driverless trucks on the road because there’s no one inside them to present a driver’s license or take a breathalyzer test.
Einride CEO Robert Falck and the T-Pod 4 photos
Photo: Facebook / Robert Falck
Einride CEO Robert Falck and the T-PodEinride CEO Robert details trouble with the driverless T-PodThe Einride T-Log
This Onion-y (but very much in keeping with 2020 so far) piece of news comes from The Driver License Holder blog, which includes screenshots from Einride CEO Robert Falck complaining about the nonsensical logistic loophole on Facebook. As of the time of writing, there is no such mention on Falck’s Facebook, so it looks like he may have posted and deleted it. Or he was joking and didn't realize people would take him seriously.

As per the screenshot, which is included in the gallery above, Falck said that Einride had been meeting with the Swedish Transport Authority Transportstyrelsen in view of securing an extension on the permit they already had for road testing their driverless, electric freight trucks. The extension was denied because the driverless trucks don’t have, duh, drivers who can present IDs.

“We will not get the next permit to test on public road because the authorities demand that the vehicle most be able to make a blow in a alcohol test machine and show a driving license [sic],” Falck wrote, asking for ideas on how to proceed next.

If this is true, it’s beyond ridiculous. Among other trucks, Sweden-based Einride has been testing the T-Pod since 2019. The T-Pod can operate in fully autonomous mode or can be controlled remotely by a human operator, with Einride hoping to get it out as soon as possible. In fact, the last round of investments is geared towards accelerating the official launch, so clients like Lidl and Oatly can start using fleets of T-Pods to haul goods.

Einride estimates that, in time, a human operator will be able to oversee several such T-Pods driving simultaneously, which will considerably speed up the process and cut down costs. The 20-ton, cabin-less truck has a range of 200 km (125 miles) on a single charge and a total payload of 20 metric tons (33,000 pounds).

What it does not have, apparently, is the ability to blow into a breathalyzer or have a driver’s license.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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