No, this is not a report from The Onion. Although in 2020, nothing should surprise you in terms of news. And yet, here is some surreal news from Sweden.
The CEO of the Swedish start-up Einride, Robert Falck, who started with his team to develop and build self-propelled trucks and has just completed a financing round of 8.5 million euros (10 million dollars), posted on social media with a request for a solution to a requirement from the Swedish Transport Authority Transportstyrelsen. Einride had applied for a test permit on public roads for his cabless truck and received a refusal from the authority.
Reason: the truck must undergo an alcohol test and have a driver’s license.
Einrides trucks can be operated autonomously as well as by remote control. When asked, Falck pointed out that the requirement of the Swedish authorities does not only refer to operation under remote control, but also to full autonomous operation of the vehicle,
Now Falck is looking for solutions. A device on the truck with which the vehicle can blow into an alcohol test? The driving license is more tricky: how does a truck without a cabin pass the driving test with a driving examiner?
Falcks contacts on social media could not be asked twice and made suggestions and made further demands. Here is a selection:
Whatever the solution, this request demonstrates the difficulties that start-ups face beyond developing the technology and raising money. It’s the fight against a bureaucracy that gets easily overwhelmed with new approaches that don’t fit into the old framework of thinking. I will keep you updated.
Here are some pictures and videos of Einride trucks:
This article was also published in German.