For the first time, a car without a human inside has driven on public roads in Europe.
The achievement was achieved by faded, a German start-up. The company uses an approach called “teledriving” to remotely control cars from locations miles away.
Operators control the vehicles with steering wheels, petals and monitors. They also receive traffic sounds through microphones and headphones.
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The system resembles video game racing simulators – only the action on the screens actually happens.
Redundant mobile networks take care of the data transmission. In the event of a network failure or calamity, the vehicle automatically comes to a safe stop.
Vay tested the technology without safety drivers after receiving an exemption permit from Harmburg. The company announced on Tuesday that it has now completed its first test drives on predefined routes in the city.
“As a leading company in the field of teledriving, we have been driving remote-controlled electric cars on public roads in Berlin and Hamburg for more than three years,” Vay CEO and co-founder Thomas von der Ohe said in a statement.
“With the exemption permit received in December 2022, we were now able to successfully drive the first car on public roads without a safety driver.”
Vay was founded in 2018 in Berlin. The start-up has built a team of more than 150 people, combining software and product experience from Silicon Valley with automotive hardware and safety technology from Europe.
The company ultimately plans to sell their technology in two ways. The first is a door-to-door mobility service. A car is remotely driven to a user’s location, where the customer takes the wheel and drives to their destination, after which the remote control takes over again. The second service is remote control of a car while the user sits in the back.
Vay argues that teledriving will be safer for passengers and more convenient for drivers, while reducing internal and private vehicle ownership. The services aim to compete with existing ones car sharing and ride hailing providers.
Anjes Tjarks, senator for transport and mobility in Hamburg, sees even more benefits.
“Vay creates such added value with its teledrive service: no need to search for a parking space, emission-free, digitally bookable and as a handy service, for example for the ‘last mile’ from the bus or train station to your own front door,” he said.
Vay will also use its test data to develop self-driving features. Perhaps teledriving can jump-start the stagnant autonomous vehicle sector.