Einride AB, which has been developing electric and autonomous vehicles and providing freight-transport services, today announced that it has raised $10 million in additional funding from existing investors. The Stockholm-based company said it will use the money to accelerate the official launch of its Einride Pods and meet the demands of customers such as Oatly and Lidl.
In 2016, Robert Falck, Linnéa Kornehed, and Filip Lilja founded Einride, which claimed to be the world’s first company to operate an autonomous, all-electric freight vehicle on a commercial route on a public road.
“There is both a lot of excitement and a lot of uncertainty about autonomous trucking, but the fact remains: This is one of the largest business opportunities in the history of mankind,” stated Falck, CEO of Einride. “We have a unique opportunity to make transport both exponentially safer and more sustainable. It’s something the vast majority of us want, but many are unsure of how to get there and resort to half-measures.”
Einride Pods ride out storm
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread in March 2020, Starsky Robotics shut down, raising doubts about the viability of the autonomous trucking industry. At the same time, the novel coronavirus has increased e-commerce demand and interest in more efficient, contactless transportation and logistics.
“Like many businesses throughout Sweden and the world, we have not been unaffected by the ongoing pandemic,” Falck told The Robot Report. “However, we are very pleased with the progress made both by our development and operations teams that have set us apart as a leader in freight mobility technology, as well as our ability to raise capital during a period when many other companies have struggled.”
“We expect to see the autonomous transport industry expand exponentially in the coming years, especially in the wake of a global pandemic,” said Falck. He added that the Einride Pods are already generating revenue through regular trips, but the company had to deal with local authorities.
“The Einride Pods operate regularly at a DB Schenker facility outside of Jönköping,” explained Falck. “We can’t share exact usage data at the moment, but the facility is mostly closed, with a few public byways connecting different areas. Operating on these public roads can be a challenge for regulatory reasons, as the two transport and traffic agencies in Sweden have been unable to come to an agreement on issuing permits for remote-driven and autonomous vehicles.”
Mobility Platform intended to manage next-gen fleets
In June, the company launched its Einride Mobility Platform, a cloud-native transport execution system for autonomous, electrical, and traditional road transportation such as the Einride Pods. The company said it provides real-time information and actionable insights to help clients implement sustainable, cost-efficient, and high-performing transport logistics.
“In comparison to traditional transport management systems, our platform is specifically designed to plan the implementation of electric and autonomous trucks,” Falck said. “It oversees the scheduling, routing, and operation of these vehicles, which have unique requirements to maximize environmental and cost efficiency.”
“Transport management systems are only capable of managing freight as it exists today, which is both unsustainable and unintelligent,” he added. “The Einride platform is the digital infrastructure for shippers and carriers to go electric and autonomous.”
Funding for sustainability
Impact fund Norrsken VC led the latest funding round, with participation from EQT Ventures, Nordic Ninja VC, Ericsson Ventures, and others. Norrsken will also be joining Einride’s advisory board and expressed interest in environmental sustainability of the Einride Pods.
“Eliminating CO2 emissions causing rapid climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity,” said Niklas Adalberth, co-founder of Klarna and the Norrsken Foundation. “As one of the largest emitters, what the road transport industry does in the coming years will have an enormous impact on reaching sustainability goals. At Norrsken, we have been with Einride since the beginning and are proud to continue to support this movement towards electric, autonomous transport.”
“We have been testing non-stop through the summer, and we will have big news to share in the coming weeks, specifically in terms of product and capability announcements,” Falck said. “The latest funding round will go towards a variety of projects, including bringing on additional team members and scaling up our operations and development efforts.”
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