It thus became the first company on both sides of the Atlantic to achieve this feat.
In February, Berlin-based Vay deployed a driverless car on public roads in Hamburg, a first in Europe.
Then in June, the company announced it was expanding its focus to the U.S. and opened an office in Las Vegas with plans to enter the U.S. market.
Now, just six months later, the company is following in the footsteps of Halo, which for the first time is operating without a safety driver in Las Vegas, where Halo has already set up remote-controlled “driverless” rides.
How Vay’s Teledrive system works
While Vay’s vehicles don’t have human drivers, they take a completely different approach than self-driving cab operators Cruise and Waymo because they’re driven remotely.
Professionally trained remote drivers are located in remote centers, sitting at workstations and operating steering wheels, pedals, and other vehicle controls developed by Vay to automotive industry standards.
The environment in which the vehicle is traveling on the road is reproduced by camera sensors and transmitted to a monitor at the remote driving station, while sounds (such as the siren of an emergency vehicle) are transmitted through a microphone to the remote driver’s headset.
Connections are made over a cellular network, allowing for increased security through multiple providers should any latency issues arise. The system also has a range of redundancy features.
Vay’s goal: commercial door-to-door mobility services
Vay’s ultimate goal in Germany and the U.S. is to offer a commercial door-to-door mobility service, in which users order the company’s electric cars through its app and have them delivered via the car’s remote control.
The user then takes over the electric car and drives it to a destination of his or her choosing, and the remote driver then takes back control of the car and parks or delivers it to the next user.
Over time, Vay will roll out more fully autonomous features through the use of accumulated data.
The company said it is in contact with German and US authorities ahead of commercialization, and it has apparently been strengthening its safety certifications given the current situation with self-driving cars.
Via says it follows key safety standards in vehicle safety, functional safety and cybersecurity, and has been certified by TÜV Süd, an independent third-party testing organization in Germany.
Vay co-founder and CEO Thomas von der Ohe welcomed the company’s breakthrough in Las Vegas, saying, “Not only does this demonstrate the incredible capabilities of our team, but it puts Europe and the US at the forefront of remote driving technology.”