Einride autonomous on-road trials extend

Progress towards the use of driverless trucks on public roads has taken another step forward as another Einride vehicle begins small-scale operator trials.

Following the commencement of trials by DB Schenker at its site in Jönköping, Sweden, this time the operator is Lidl Sweden. As part of a local innovation day in the city of Kista, north-west of Stockholm, it carried goods on a short journey from an Ericsson site to a Lidl pop-up store nearby.

Both trials have initially been at low speed and closely monitored, although the ambulance pictured was part of a separate demonstration. More extensive trials by the Swedish autonomous truck manufacturer are expected as the country has introduced a new permit system for driverless operations.

The next major operator expected to test the product is Michelin, which is due to begin on-site trials at Clermont-Ferrand early next year, followed by inter-site operations on public roads, subject to French government approval.

O-licence revoked after 'serious breach of trust'

A director and transport manager has escaped with a warning over her repute after she allowed unauthorised use of her licence by disqualified directors. However, the licence of Paramount Transport Consultants was revoked following a public inquiry (PI) in Eastbourne before deputy traffic commissioner Anthony Seculer.

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatia appeared at the PI after it was discovered that a driver of one of the trucks specified on her licence had previously been disqualified and a second truck had links to a licence that had been revoked and its director also disqualified.

Bhatia did not dispute the evidence and admitted that she “succumbed to pressure” from the family of Rajwant Bath, who was disqualified for a year in 2015.

Bath wanted to use Bhatia’s licence to allow transport activities to be undertaken by the disqualified directors.

In his written decision, Seculer acknowledged that the unauthorised use was for a relatively short period of time, Bhatia was inexperienced and had been under pressure to agree to the arrangement and she had made a full admission at the PI.

“Allowing unauthorised use is a serious breach of the trust placed in operators and it is conceded that the repute of the operator company must be forfeit on the facts. I revoke the operator’s licence with immediate effect.”

Bhatia retained her personal repute as a director and transport manager. “The warning I place against her repute and professional competence as a transport manager is intended to be meaningful and a final chance,” Seculer added.

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