GE Appliances has partnered with Einride, a Swedish freight mobility company that focuses on digital, electric and autonomous technology, to implement their autonomous vehicle into daily, full-time operations in Selmer, Tennessee. The electric vehicle, which produces zero tailpipe emissions, will make up to seven shuttles per day transporting finished goods from the factory to the warehouse.
The Einride autonomous vehicle is part of a larger interoperability project in Selmer to create an automated logistics flow that improves employee ergonomics and safety around the loading docks and increases efficiency. Additional GE Appliances partners include TaskWatch and Slip Robotics. TaskWatch’s AI cameras trigger a control board to raise and lower the dock doors, dock plate, lock the Einride autonomous vehicle into place and notify the SlipBot autonomous mobile robot that the Einride vehicle is ready for loading. The electric-powered SlipBot then autonomously loads and unloads the vehicle, reducing loading times by 80%. Einride’s connectivity partner Ericsson provided the private network to ensure reliable communication between the vehicle and the remote operator on site. Tiffany Heathcott, the first remote operator hired by Einride, is onsite to monitor the vehicle.
“Our partnership with Einride in Selmer reflects our evolved approach to robotics and automation technology,” says Harry Chase, senior director of central materials at GE Appliances. “We are moving from implementing one-off solutions addressing various challenges to creating interoperability among systems that can build consistency and streamline processes in our factories and throughout our supply chain. This implementation in Selmer is allowing our employees to focus on high value tasks, reducing traffic in congested areas to create a safer work environment, and eliminating some of the most challenging ergonomic tasks like climbing on and off a forklift and hooking and unhooking trailers. We believe robotics and automation technology should work with and for people to improve their jobs.”