Einride, a Swedish electric self-driving truck startup, said on Wednesday that it had begun operations in the United States, with customers including GE Appliances, Swedish vegan milk company Oatly, and tiremaker Bridgestone.
Einride has already begun running a fleet of 20 Einride Pods – an electric self-driving vehicle without a driver cabin – at the Louisville headquarters of GE Appliances, a division of Chinese home appliance producer Haier that encompasses a huge manufacturing facility.
According to Einride CEO Robert Falck, for the time being, the company’s vehicles will operate within clients’ premises, allowing them to function without the need for a backup human driver because they are on private property.
The Swedish startup has secured $150 million in capital from investors, including a $110 million round disclosed in May.
Coca-Cola Co. and Electrolux are among Einride’s European clients.
Self-driving technology for freight trucks has piqued the interest of investors because it should be easier and less expensive to implement than self-driving cars and robotaxis, while also presenting a clearer route to profitability.
Self-driving freight services operate on regular routes between specified destinations, often on major roads without crossings or pedestrians, needing less mapping than robotaxis, which shuttles consumers between random points.
Einride also announced the hiring of its first remote truck driver, who would take over management of the autonomous vehicles in circumstances requiring human involvement or decision-making capabilities.
The first driver of the remote truck will be from the United States but no other details were given.
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