Einride, a developer of electric and autonomous trucks, has launched full-time operations with its autonomous vehicle.
The operations, in partnership with GE Appliances, a Haier company, mark “an important step” in the integration of autonomous transportation supporting full time commercial flows, according to the company.
The daily transport of finished goods takes place between GE Appliances’ manufacturing facility and warehouse in Selmer, Tennessee, Monday through Thursday, enabling up to seven shuttles a day, producing zero tailpipe emissions through the autonomous operation and showcasing how Einride’s freight capacity as a service (FaaS) model can be enabled with autonomous vehicles.
This long-term deployment follows previous pilots done in collaboration with GE Appliances, first in a gated environment at the company’s Appliance Park headquarters in 2021, followed by the first public road pilot in the US for a purpose built autonomous, electric truck without a driver on board in Selmer in 2022.
Henrik Green, general manager, autonomous technologies at Einride, says: “We are very proud to partner with GE Appliances and be able to lead the industry in providing autonomous technology and deploying it in the strongest commercial use case today.
“We look forward to continuing this work to establish autonomous’ key role in transportation, both with GE Appliances and other partners across markets.”
The Einride autonomous vehicle is part of a larger interoperability project in Selmer to create an automated logistics flow that improves employee ergonomics and safety around the loading docks and increases efficiency.
Additional GE Appliances partners include TaskWatch and Slip robotics. TaskWatch’s AI cameras trigger a control board to raise and lower the dock doors, dock plate, lock the Einride autonomous vehicle into place and notify the Slip robot that the autonomous vehicle is ready for loading.
The Slip then autonomously loads and unloads the vehicle, reducing loading times by 80 per cent.
Einride’s connectivity partner Ericsson provided the private network to ensure reliable communication between the vehicle and the remote operator on site.
Tiffany Heathcott, the first remote operator hired by Einride, is onsite to monitor the vehicle.
Harry Chase, senior director of central materials at GE Appliances, says: “Our partnership with Einride in Selmer reflects our evolved approach to robotics and automation technology.
“We are moving from implementing one-off solutions addressing various challenges to creating interoperability among systems that can build consistency and streamline processes in our factories and throughout our supply chain.
“This implementation in Selmer is helping us reduce emissions, allowing our employees to focus on high value tasks, reducing traffic in congested areas to create a safer work environment, and eliminating some of the most challenging ergonomic tasks like climbing on and off a forklift and hooking and unhooking trailers.
“We believe robotics and automation technology should work with and for people to improve their jobs.”