Driverless cars (reworded: without a physically present driver) are silently invading the streets of several cities around the world. Now a ride-hailing service provider, Halo, announced that it has begun offering commercial driverless car services in Las Vegas powered by T-Mobile's newest, ultra-fast 5G network.
With Halo, customers can quickly hail a driverless electric taxi in just a few clicks via a mobile app. In a short time, a Halo vehicle driven by a remote driver arrives and takes the passenger to their destination. The thing must be duly reiterated: these are cars that do not drive "alone". They are "remote controlled" by operators who are in distant places.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas (for now)
The company began operating its remote driver cars in the city of Las Vegas. The project is part of a larger plan that Halo has put in place, also collaborating with several municipalities in the area. The target? In addition to introducing its own technology, it will also decongest traffic and encourage the arrival of more electric vehicles. An on-demand remote driver car system can support that of public transport, the company says, and "create a world more free of traffic, carbon and blue sky."
“Powering this kind of startup innovation is part of why we built the largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network in the country,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile.
Innovation and change for the better are our DNA. This is why we have launched a 5G network that will transform industries and change our world for the better. I can't wait to see what will come of partnering with startups like Halo building the future of transportation.Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile
Remote control a car with a remote driver
It's just been a year since I was telling you about Voyage, the startup of "remote controlled taxis" by a remote driver. It seemed that this solution, however stimulating, could be confined only to restricted areas (residences, university campuses and small neighborhoods). From July 2020 to July 2021 everything is already different.
Using its proprietary "RemotePilot" technology, Halo trains each in-house driver to remotely operate the car using the transmission speed of T-Mobile's 5G network. Halo has also developed an advanced safe stop mechanism that allows their cars to stop immediately if a potential safety hazard is detected. A proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm learns driver behavior and builds knowledge that, over time, will help cars achieve level 3 autonomous driving.
5G and competition, highways towards autonomous driving
Driverless vehicles require a network with high capacity, wide coverage, and low latency. There is a lot of work to be done on the path to full autonomous driving, and Halo is taking their own unique and intelligent approach to getting there.John Saw, EVP of Advanced and Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile.
Full autonomous driving is a huge challenge from both a technical and social trust point of view. It will not be resolved in a short time, despite what Elon Musk (who in fact recently retracted somewhat too enthusiastic statements) said. However, in my opinion, the path of vehicles with a remote driver is the right one. A step-by-step solution, which makes users feel comfortable and allows vehicles to educate themselves on real scenarios.