(Tech Xplore)—We're always hearing about greener days ahead in the form of electric cars but gray clouds hover over trucks hauling products on the highways and byways, posing considerable concern over emissions and air pollution.
Adele Peters in Fast Company said in the U.S., even though heavy-duty trucks make up only about 7% of road traffic, they represent 25% of total fuel use, and emit around half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year
So what about these trucks in the future? A Göteborg, Sweden based Einride has announced their solution. The company is eager to push ahead with its alternative to this trucking life, with its emissions harming the environment. Einride is talking about its alternative, carbon dioxide free trucks.
In an introductory Einride video, we see Christer Fugelsang, astronaut and scientist, introducing an approach that will change the future of our roads. The innovation can help to wipe out dangerous emissions. This is not merely about a new truck, he said, but a new transportation system.
The company is doing its bit to move us from reliance on fossil fuels to an electrically powered, driverless, emission free future through its electric vehicles, designed to meet climate goals. The electric truck has self-driving capabilities but can also be controlled remotely, said VentureBeat.
Paul Sawers explained the two behaviors: "On highways the vehicle is capable of total autonomy, but when it exits onto main city roads it switches to remote control, with each pod controlled from afar by its own dedicated 'driver.'" Also, each driver monitors several pods at once on the highways and can intervene if required, "but when the truck is on city roads it's one driver per pod."
The Swedish company aims to bring electrically powered driverless trucks to market. Their vehicles are called T-pods. Einride is currently developing compatible charging stations. The pods will be able to travel 124 miles on a single charge, said Sawers.
Talking about charging, Robert Falck, CEO of Einride, was quoted in Fast Company:
"If you have to stand still maybe one-third of the time to actually charge, that makes the business case for having a truck driver in a battery-powered truck not that good," he said. "But if you remove them and create a system where the truck driver drives it remotely and controls a fleet, you overcome that problem."
Commenting on the looks of the pod, Adele Peters, Fast Company, said, "Without windows or a separate cab, the truck looks essentially like an aerodynamic white box with wheels."
Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch similarly commented, "The T-Pod isn't a truck in the traditional sense; it's more like a boxcar with an electric motor and remote operating capabilities."
Each pod is 23 feet in length and can hold 15 standard pallets, for a total weight of 20 tons when full, said Sawers.
Their goal is to have a fleet of 200 T-pods running in Sweden by 2020. Modern Science said that Einride will test a fleet in 2018 with the hopes of having the 200 units ready to hit the road by 2020.
Sawers said the company plans to launch its first route between Gothenburg and Helsingborg; the system will cart over 2 million pallets each year.
COO Filip Lilja was quoted in VentureBeat. "The big companies behind long-haul trucks keep building bigger trucks to increase efficiency, which ultimately means even more emissions." Their solution could help to minimize negative environmental impact.