Group Michelin will support Sweden-based startup firm Einride by deploying its autonomous and all-electric T/Pod transport truck starting next year at the tire maker’s production facilities in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
The commitment to Einride was announced on June 4, 2019, in Montreal, as the first day of the Michelin-sponsored Movin'On international sustainable mobility summit wrapped up.
According to Michelin, freight transport by road accounts for about 7% of global CO2 emissions and by “rethinking road freight from scratch, Einride has developed a solution that has the potential to revolutionize it by being both cost-effective and sustainable.”
The tire maker will roll out the Einride in two phases. First, it will go into operation transporting goods at a fenced-off Michelin site and later, it will run over a public road to deliver freight between two Michelin facilities.
The new initiative is being led by a Michelin supply chain unit and is part of the company’s “dynamic action for more innovative and sustainable goods mobility.”
The electric Einride T/Pod is capable of SAE Level 4 autonomous driving. It uses a Nvidia Drive system to process in real time the needed visual data for driver-less operation.
The T/Pod was designed to be driverless -- there is no driver onboard, nor is there even a cab for one to sit in. However, Einride noted, that if required, the truck can be controlled remotely by human “drivers.”
From two years ago when it first revealed, the T\Pod and its sister, the T/Log autonomous logging truck, Einride has been grabbing the interest of other companies as well.
The company says Einride has received orders for the T/Pod from Germany-based 3PL DB Schenker, German grocer Lidl, Swedish delivery firm Svenska Retursystem, and five Fortune 500 retailers.
The T/Pod already has begun making daily freight delivers over a short route between a warehouse and a terminal on a public road in Sweden.