Halo Car, a startup that uses remote operators to deliver rental cars to customers’ homes, has launched driverless operations in Las Vegas.
The startup’s fleet is equipped with a set of six cameras, modems, antennas and other components to send data back to pilots remotely at the Halo operations center. Those pilots will then use streamed video and sensor data to remotely control the vehicle. Once the remote driver completes the vehicle delivery, they hand over control of the vehicle to the customer and move on to the next vehicle awaiting remote delivery or pickup.
Halo has been delivering cars to customers in Las Vegas using telematics for about a year, but the driver is always in the front seat for safety reasons. Halo cars will now be delivered to customers without a driver on board.
This is an important step towards achieving Halo’s vision of on-demand vehicles economic feasibilityaccording to Anand Nandakumar, founder and CEO of Halo.
That said, Halo is not yet at the stage where it is hitting the active unit economy. Initially, the company will still use a remote chase car that follows the remote controlled vehicles. The driver of a tailgating car can stop the remotely controlled vehicle and take over if needed.
The tail car also acts as a buffer in case the Halo needs to stop, thus preventing possible rear-end accidents with other road users. Halo’s cars will stop in their lanes if the system detects an anomaly, meaning they meet Nevada cars. minimum risk condition for AV indicates the vehicle must be able to stop if something goes wrong in the system.
Halo says it will phase out the tailgate next year based on how it works now. According to Nandakumar, that will happen in phases across operating regions and depending on the time of day.
While Halo may be the first company to successfully offer remote-controlled electric vehicles to customers in Las Vegas, it’s not the only company to attempt such a feat. In December 2022, Arcimoto, a manufacturer of three-wheeled electric utility vehicles, partnered with Faction to electric vehicle development can be delivered to the customer’s hotel through a combination of remote assistance technology and low-level autonomy.
Nandakumar said Halo’s announcement on Thursday came after six months of intensive internal testing and training. The startup initially targeted end of 2022 for the unmanned launch, but delayed for the safety of the system.
“As we have seen during AV deployments, there are a lot of situations that need to be addressed when the vehicle is unmanned inside,” said Nandakumar, perhaps nodding to the many Cruise robot shaft failures. and Waymo stopped in the road. between traffic and obstruct traffic. “We want to ensure that our implementation causes minimal public disruption and, of course, is absolutely safe for all road users.”
That’s why connectivity is so important to Halo Car’s business model. Remotely controlled vehicles T-Mobile’s 5G network, with AT&T and Verizon used for backup. Halo has developed an algorithm that allows data streams to use whichever network connection is strongest at any given time to ensure high-quality, reliable, and low-latency streaming.
Starting Thursday, Halo’s driverless delivery service is available in downtown Las Vegas between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and will expand to more areas of the city. in the coming months. According to the company, the startup’s fleet of 20 vehicles includes the Chevy Bolt EV and the Kia Niro EV.
Halo says it plans to grow its fleet in Vegas to hundreds of vehicles before expanding to new cities in 2024.
“The transition to driverless delivery marks an important milestone for us as a company. It demonstrates that our remote control technology is not only innovative, but also commercially viable and ready to be scaled up,” Nandakumar said in a statement. “As we prepare to expand and launch new markets, our mission remains the same: to provide efficient, accessible and affordable EV transportation.”