Einride starts building ‘world’s largest’ autonomous trucking network

Einride has partnered with Jebel Ali Port in Dubai as part of its ambitious plan to build the world’s largest autonomous trucking network.

The Swedish freight mobility startup has signed a deal with DP World, which handles logistics at the port — the world’s 10th busiest. The firm will use hundreds of Einride’s electric trucks to haul containers around the shipyard. 

Starting next year, DP World will start using autonomous trucks alongside those piloted by humans. This is part of the Falcon Rise project, a planned autonomous trucking network that will spread 550 kilometres across the UAE.

“The world will have never seen anything like this before,” Robert Falck, CEO and founder at Einride, told TNW. “There will be hundreds of electric and autonomous trucks transporting goods all over the country, including on public roads.” 

We visited the Einride team earlier this year at their offices in Stockholm and their workshop in Gothenburg. The company, valued at over $1 billion, has a unique business model for an autonomous vehicle (AV) startup. 

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An arrow in the quiver

Rather than just building self-driving trucks, the company provides the full mobility menu. This includes electric and autonomous fleets, an intelligent software platform, and charging infrastructure.

Einride buys its electric trucks from third-parties like Volvo and Scania. The startup then fits these haulers with an AI-powered digital operating system. Dubbed Saga, it analyses the best routes and optimises energy consumption.

Einride builds its AVs, however, from scratch. Unlike those of its competitors, these trucks don’t feature a cabin. You couldn’t drive one, even if you wanted to. Instead, human operators can take over the controls remotely, if needed. 

Einride’s electric and charging businesses are laying the bedrock for more AVs, the startup’s founding engineer Tomas Ohlson told TNW in Gothenburg. “That’s why we’re building an end-to-end freight mobility ecosystem,” he said. 

Electrification also has a viable business case right now, whereas autonomous trucking is still in its infancy. Ohlson says that Einride plans to slowly increase the share of autonomous operations as regulation progresses.