Berlin-based teledrive specialist, Vay, has made history by completing a successful autonomous trip in Las Vegas without a human occupant, making it the first company to achieve this feat on both sides of the Atlantic. Vay initially made headlines in February when it deployed a vehicle without a human inside on public roads in Hamburg, setting a precedent for Europe. The company expanded its focus to the United States in June, establishing an office in Las Vegas.
Unlike traditional self-driving taxi operators, Vay's vehicles operate with remote teledrivers, professionally trained individuals located in a remote hub. These teledrivers use a workstation equipped with a steering wheel, pedals, and other vehicle controls developed by Vay to meet automotive industry standards.
Camera sensors capture the vehicle's surroundings, transmitting the data to the teledriver's monitors, while sounds, such as emergency sirens, are relayed through microphones to the teledriver's headphones. The connection is established via cellular networks with multiple providers to enhance safety and address any potential latency issues. The system incorporates redundancies to ensure reliability.
Vay's overarching goal, both in Germany and the U.S., is to provide a commercial door-to-door mobility service. Users can order one of Vay's electric vehicles through its app, and the car is delivered, ready for use, by a teledriver. Users then take control and drive the EV to their destination, where the teledriver resumes control, either parking the vehicle or delivering it to the next user. As Vay accumulates data through use, it plans to introduce more fully autonomous features.
The company emphasizes its commitment to safety standards, having received endorsement from TÜV Süd, an independent third-party testing body based in Germany. Vay is actively engaging with authorities in both Germany and the U.S. before launching commercially.
Vay's CEO, Thomas von der Ohe, expressed pride in the company's achievements, stating, “This not only showcases our team's incredible capabilities but also places both Europe and the U.S. at the forefront of teledriving technology.”