Remember the dealership selling EVs that deliver themselves to their new owners?
Well, an American rental car company has joined in on the action.
Halo.Car is now using remote operators to deliver driverless cars to customers’ doors.
The startup is now using driverless operations in Las Vegas, but in a different way to how companies like Cruise or Waymo use them.
The reason – because Halo’s vehicles aren’t actually capable of self-driving.
Its fleet is kitted out with a suite of six cameras, modems, antennas and other components to send data back to remote pilots at its operations center.
Those pilots then use that video and sensor data to remotely drive the vehicles.
Once a remote driver completes a rental car delivery, they hand over control of the vehicle to the customer and move onto the next one.
For around a year, Halo has been delivering vehicles to customers in Sin City using teleoperations.
But a human driver has always been present in the front seat for safety reasons.
That’s in the past, though, as Halo cars will now be delivered to customers with no one in the vehicle at all.
That being said, the company will initially use a remote chase car that tails behind the remotely-piloted vehicles.
This way, the driver of the tail car can stop the remotely-piloted vehicle and take over if needed.
The tail car also acts as a buffer vehicle in case the Halo car needs to stop, preventing a potential rear-end accident with other road users.
What’s more, Halo’s cars will come to a stop if the system detects an anomaly.
This means they meet Nevada’s minimal risk condition for AVs that says vehicles must be able to stop if there is a malfunction in the system.
Depending on how the current operations perform over the next year, Halo says it will ditch the tail car.