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Windowless Autonomous Electric Truck to Roam through Sweden by 2020

Looking at the cars used in Roborace (the upcoming autonomous racing series), we always thought that once the human factor was removed from the equation, the shape of the vehicles would change dramatically.
Einride T-Pod 4 photos
Einride T-PodEinride T-PodEinride T-Pod
The Einride T-pod did not change that belief, even though apart from the fact it has no windows, it looks like a pretty regular truck. We can only assume that's because with or without a driver, the most efficient shape for hauling goods is still a boxy one, so the only concessions made were to aerodynamics.

And they are quite important for the T-pod, because this futuristic truck uses electric propulsion. We've seen Tesla and others do their best to maximize the range by reducing drag and turbulence by tinkering even with the wheels design. The T-pod's wheels look quite mundane, but the rest of it would fit well in even in a third Blade Runner film.

Since a human no longer needs to sit, the truck comes with no doors, no windows and no cabin whatsoever. It also doesn't appear to have any headlights, which could become a problem considering one aspect: the Einride T-pod is fully-autonomous, but it can also be controlled from a distance by a human operator (much like a military drone, except for the missiles) who, we assume, will rely on video feed from the vehicle.

Well, considering the ambitious goals of the T-pod creators, fitting a few LED lights is the least of their problem. The Swedish company plans to have 200 of its self-driving electric trucks on the road by 2020 with the aim of transporting up to 2,000,000 pallets per year.

Speaking of pallets, one T-Pod can host 15 of them thanks to its 23-feet (seven meters) total length and the clever use of space. Its maximum range sits at a largely unimpressive 124 miles (200 km), but the company believes it will be enough to cover the route between Gothenburg and Helsingborg (which, funnily enough, is 217 km or 134 miles).

The company hails the T-pod as not just a self-driving electric truck, but a "new transportation system," hinting at the fact that it will support platooning and that a remote human driver can cut in at any time, taking control of one or several vehicles at once. Of course, that requires a very stable wireless connection, or the T-pod would come to a sudden stop or worse, turn into a driverless runaway truck and crash into something/someone. Redundancy systems will surely be installed before the T-pod rolls its wheels on public roads, so there's no need to worry. After all, Einride does come from Sweeden, which is the same country that gave us Volvo, the epitome of road safety.

Over to you, Tesla.


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