The T-pod which is completely self-driving and electrical and will also be remote-controlled during the pilot. The pilot is set to start in the autumn of 2018 in Halmstad, Sweden. A T-pod will transport about 15 loaded pallets at a time and drive 4 kilometres from Lidl's central warehouse to Lidl supermarket in the Andersberg district . The goal of the test is to standardize this solution and then scale it up to be applicable to other Lidl shops in Sweden.
The background to Lidl's new transport initiative is the change in the regulatory framework that came into force on 1 July, which gives the Swedish Transport Agency the mandate to grant permits for pilots that include self-driving vehicles on public roads. Einride and Lidl have initiated a dialogue with the Swedish Transport Agency and the plan is to hand in their application by November.
As mentioned in Einride’s statement, the food industry is very transport intensive, which leads to higher emissions. Making the distribution chain electric and self-driving could lead to many benefits not only for the environment but also when it comes to cost reduction for the companies. This will also be one of the first applicable pilots with the potential to demonstrate the benefits of using self-driving technology in the distribution of goods.
Written by Mahdere DW Amanuel, RISE Viktoria.