Halo Car, a pioneering startup, has initiated driverless car deliveries in Las Vegas, though with a unique twist. Unlike autonomous vehicle companies like Cruise or Waymo, Halo Car’s vehicles are not self-driven. Instead, they are remotely piloted from a Halo operations center.
The company's fleet is equipped with an array of six cameras, modems, antennas, and other components that transmit data back to remote pilots. These pilots then use the video and sensor data to drive the vehicles remotely. Once a car delivery is completed, the control of the vehicle is handed over to the customer.
For about a year, Halo Car has been delivering vehicles in Las Vegas using teleoperations, but always with a human driver in the front seat for safety purposes. Now, Halo cars will be delivered without any drivers inside.
This development represents a significant stride toward Halo's goal of making on-demand vehicles economically feasible, says Anand Nandakumar, Halo's founder and CEO. However, the company will initially use a remote chase car that follows behind the remotely piloted vehicles, acting as a buffer to prevent potential accidents.
Halo anticipates discontinuing the chase car within the next year, based on the current operations' performance. This phased approach will be dependent on the operation zones and times of day, according to Nandakumar.
After six months of intensive internal testing and training, Halo Car's driverless delivery service is now available in downtown Las Vegas between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The company's fleet of 20 vehicles, composed of Chevy Bolt EVs and Kia Niro EVs, is set to grow to hundreds before expanding to new cities in 2024.
Nandakumar expressed that this transition to driverless deliveries is a significant milestone, proving the commercial viability of their remote-piloting technology and readiness for scaling up. Their mission remains to provide affordable, accessible, efficient EV transportation.