SKF and Einride seek road access with autonomous truck

Pod attracts growing interest from likes of manufacturers and supermarket chain

SKF and Einride seek road access with autonomous truck
A Pod at an SKF warehouse


Real-world complexity may be a sheet-anchor on open-road autonomous trucking progress for customers but SKF is looking to let that slip by testing the concept outside confined environments.

The parts maker is in the midst of testing the autonomous and electrical transport of goods with Swedish technology company Einride.

The pair is looking to use the latter’s vehicles to transport goods on a public road between the factory and the warehouse in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The effort comes nearly four years after Einride unveiled its T-pod prototype vehicle, with a view to starting with pallets and moving to carrying containers and refrigerated cargo.

Read how Einride unveiled it T-pod prototype, here

"We have decided to reduce our CO2 impact by 40 percent from freight transport over a 10-year period until 2025," SKF global logistics manager Mattias Axelsson says.

"We therefore review our entire logistics flow from a CO2 perspective.

"This is an example of initiatives that give us new opportunities to create efficient, sustainable and autonomous logistics flows that contribute to our goals."

The company notes that the move is a natural progression from its use of ‘automated guided vehicle’ (AGV) fleets inside factories and warehouses.

"However, driving driverless vehicles on public roads requires a special permit from the Swedish Transport Agency, which the two companies plan to apply for together.

"With the partnership with SKF, we now have customers in all our priority customer segments: trade, consumer goods and industrial goods, which we are very proud of," Einride commercial manager Jonas Hernlund says.

"Together with them, we will learn and grow quickly."

While the companies are using the autonomous Pod, the 2019 update of the T-pod, it also produces a more conventional electric 24 tonne 4x2 prime mover with a haulage capacity of 33 pallets, along with 9- and 16-tonne 4x2 rigids for distribution and urban delivery tasks respectively.

With the 10-tonne capacity Pod, however, SKF joins Swedish appliance maker Electrolux and German global supermarket chain Lidl in showing a serious interest recently.

Gothenberg is set to be something of a hot-bed for autonomous trucks, with Volvo to test its Vera prime mover there, with a view to transporting containers for logistics firm DFDS.


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