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New Remote Driving Service Launches in the US

Vay’s commercial operations are live in Las Vegas

Graham Hope

January 18, 2024

3 Min Read
A look at a Vay external teledriving station.
Vay

German teledriving company Vay has officially launched commercial operations in Las Vegas.

The Berlin-based firm started conducting tests in the United States last year, following successful trials of its “remote driving” concept in Europe.

Now users in Sin City have the opportunity to try the new mobility service, which will see driverless electric Kias take to the streets that differ dramatically from the self-driving taxis from Waymo and Cruise we have become accustomed to.

Vay describes its tech as an “alternative approach to autonomous driving,” which may reassure customers who have been alarmed at the problems that have engulfed General Motors subsidiary Cruise, which has halted all operations and laid off hundreds of staff after a crash in San Francisco last year.

“Given recent challenges in the autonomy industry, automotive-grade teledriving can offer an alternative path to safe ‘driverless’ transportation, as a human driver is always in control,” Vay claims.

The service being offered in Las Vegas sees users order a vehicle via the Vay app, which is then delivered – without any occupants – to the desired pick-up location.

The car is remotely controlled en route by a human at Vay’s teledrive center, who uses familiar controls such as a steering wheel and pedals.

Related:Remote Control Teledriving Comes to Las Vegas

The surroundings of the vehicle are relayed via camera sensors and displayed on monitors, while sounds are transmitted by microphones.

The connection, meanwhile, is via cellular networks, with multiple providers used to ensure safety in case of any latency issues, and a number of redundancies are also included.

Once the car is remotely driven to the user, they then take the wheel and drive themselves to their chosen destination, whereupon the remote controller takes over again, either parking the car or delivering it to the next user.

[External]_Vay_car_in_US_1.jpg

As well as appealing to those who may have reservations about traveling in a fully autonomous car given recent events, Vay believes its solution is more cost-effective than other mobility services.

In Las Vegas, users only pay for the time they use the car and initially charges will be pegged at $0.30 per minute and $0.03 per minute for stopovers.

Only part of the city will be covered at first, though, with pick-ups and drop-offs restricted to the Arts District and the University of Nevada.

Over time, as the service expands and Vay accumulates more data, it will be possible to integrate more autonomous functionality into its vehicles.

“After five years of developing our technology, we are bringing our vision to life in Las Vegas,” said Thomas von der Ohe, Vay CEO. “Our convenient, affordable and sustainable door-to-door mobility service aims to free cities from parked cars and make them more liveable and greener.” 

Related:Remote Control ‘Teledriving’ Arrives in Europe

A similar remote driving service is also being run by Halo in Las Vegas.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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