Driverless lorry allowed on public Swedish roads

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe Einride T-Pod lorry has no cab for a driver

A driverless delivery lorry is being used alongside normal traffic on public roads in Sweden.

The large lorry, called a T-Pod, weighs 26 tonnes fully laden and will move goods between buildings on an industrial estate.

The vehicle is not entirely autonomous, as a remote operator will oversee it from a control room while it works.

Using the semi-autonomous truck to make deliveries was a "milestone", said Robert Falck, of its creator, Einride.

Testing times

Swedish transport regulators have imposed strict controls on the T-Pod's top speed and the distance it can travel.

The lorry is limited to 5km/h (3mph) while mixing with human-driven traffic and can make trips between only two locations, on the industrial estate.

Advanced communications systems have been placed along the route the lorry will take, so its remote human operator will never lose contact.

The truck will transport goods for German logistics and delivery company DB Schenker.

Einride said it was also talking to Lidl, Swedish delivery company Svenska Retursystem and other retailers about using its lorries.

Fully driverless vehicles, including cars and lorries, are being widely tested and trialled around the world.

Most involve specialised vehicles on campuses or in locations such as airports.

Many nations, including the UK, currently allow them to mix with traffic only if they have a human onboard to take control in the event of problems.

Google subsidiary Waymo launched a commercial driverless ride-hailing service in Arizona though initially drivers will be in the vehicles as they transport passengers.

California has also issued Waymo a permit to allow driverless cars on public roads.

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