There isn't exactly a shortage of companies looking to disrupt the trucking industry. Tesla and Nikola are pushing their electrified semis pretty hard, and even legacy companies like Freightliner and Volvo Trucks are looking to ditch the diesel . But there's one company, in particular, that's trying to go even further by making its trucks remote-operated.
Yep, that's right. Einride, a Swedish company, has been working on itsand concepts for a few years now, both of which are electric and autonomous, with no provision for a human onboard operator.
Obviously, autonomy is still a ways off, so to get the party started in the meantime, Einride will bring in a human truck driver to monitor and control the vehicle remotely. It claims it will be the first company to do so.
The driver will not only remotely pilot test trucks but will use their expertise in the field to aid Einride's engineers in further developing not only the vehicles themselves but also the remote operator station.
"The continued development of autonomous vehicles will place new demands on the workforce and raises questions about the future working environment of drivers/operators," said Robert Falck, founder, and CEO of Einride, in a statement. "We are excited to open up an entirely new category of jobs, that will not only benefit the industries currently employees with improved hours, working conditions, and knowledge but reinvigorate a dying employment sector for the next wave job seekers."
Einride offers up some predictions for just how much its system will benefit the industry and society, and one of the tidbits has us a little curious. Specifically, it bases its predictions on the idea that there would be a ratio of one remote truck driver per 10 vehicles.
That seems like a lot of demand to place on one person's attention, even if the vehicles are operating with sufficient autonomy that they don't regularly need human intervention. Still, if Einride can work out the kinks, its estimates that it can cut operating costs by 60% and boost productivity by 200% bode well for the trucking industry.