An innovative German startup has launched a rental service in Las Vegas that offers customers electric automobiles that can be controlled from a distance and brought to their preferred spot.
Picture yourself in Las Vegas with the option to drive yourself around. A few clicks later, an electric vehicle appears before your eyes; yet, the driver is noticeably absent. A woman's voice will ask, “Hello, how are you doing today?” once you've settled into the driver's seat. Antonella Rosa, speaking from the offices of Vay Technology GmbH in Las Vegas's Arts District, has just remotely driven this Kia automobile to you.
The German startup has revealed its vision for the future of car sharing in the American city for this very reason. In her view, this service is based on “teledriving,” which implies that people use remote controls to deliver cars to consumers and then pick them up when they're done enjoying them.
It is entirely up to you how long you want to spend behind the wheel once you've taken control. Then, you won't have to worry about finding a parking spot because Rosa or another Vay driver will do it remotely.
Rosa appears to be using a simulator with a steering wheel, pedals, brakes, and three screens to operate the vehicle within Vay's office.
As the remote driver put it to Euronews Next, “It's great, it feels like you're driving a classic vehicle for the first time.”
Even when there isn't anyone else in the car with us, she says, we still feel a lot of responsibility to be careful, both for our vehicle and for the people around us.
The service will formally launch in Las Vegas this coming Wednesday; but, at this moment, it is only available in the areas immediately surrounding the University of Nevada and the Arts District.
“This is a completely new mobility service: we could call it car sharing 2.0 because it overcomes the biggest challenges of current car sharing, which consists of getting to the vehicle yourself and parking it,” stated Thomas von der Ohe, co-founder and CEO of Vay Technologies, in an interview with Euronews Next.
It costs $0.30 (€0.28) per minute to use the car generally, and $0.03 (€0.028) per minute at specific locations where you may do things like shop.
According to Thomas von der Ohe, “We think we can make car sharing something different – at least, we hope so – and offer an alternative to individual car ownership, particularly in large cities like Paris, Berlin, or London, where private cars are parked 95% of the time.” This is particularly the case in areas where private vehicles are situated for the bulk of the day.
While Vay has been testing autonomous driving technology in Germany for over three years, the safety of drivers is still a top priority for the Kia electric vehicles manufactured by the business.
After getting the green light, in February 2023 the company became the first in Hamburg, Germany, to remotely operate a vehicle without passengers.
In a recent statement, Thomas von der Ohe expressed his intention to work with European regulators to provide a commercial version of the “remote driving” service within the EU.