Robocar Startup Vay Plans To Bring Remotely-Driven Cars To Hamburg – Forbes

A safety car driver behind the wheel of a remotely-controlled Vay test vehicle in Berlin. The startup has just raised $95 million to bring the service to Hamburg.

Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Vay plans to bring its remotely-driven cars to the streets of Hamburg, Germany, early next year before bringing the car-sharing service that will deliver a vehicle to your doorstep to the United States. The Berlin-based startup has raised $95 million in a Series B round after two years of testing of its vehicles which are piloted remotely before, and after, a pickup when customers take the wheel.

Vay’s reliance on human drivers sets it apart from the likes of Alphabet’s Waymo, Tesla and Zoox that have faced a challenging, decade-long ride to get a self-driving robotaxi on the road. Thomas von der Ohe, cofounder and CEO of Vay, says using “teledrivers” and cars retrofitted with 360-degree cameras would provide the revenue, and data, to gradually introduce autonomous technology to its service. 

Von der Ohe, who used to work at the Amazon-owned robotaxi startup Zoox, also claims the service will be able to undercut ride-hailing apps like Uber by relying on customers to do the bulk of the driving, while a small pool of remote drivers could pilot the electric cars to a parking spot, or the next job.

“We are pursuing a different approach to autonomous driving, which we call a teledrive first approach, and this allows us  to launch something much, much earlier,” says von der Ohe. “It’s much cheaper than ride-hailing mainly because you drive in the middle and we don’t have to pay someone [for the entire journey] so we can really bring down the cost to close to urban car ownership.” 

Thomas von der Ohe, cofounder and CEO, with one of his fleet of remotely-driven electric vehicles.

© 2021 Bloomberg Finance LP

Vay might be able to skip for now some of the expensive, and technical heavy lifting, of using Lidar lasers, radar and cameras to teach an algorithm to drive but relying on a remote driver presents major challenges of its own. The startup’s vehicles are designed to pullover automatically if they lose connection with the control room but the issue of lag delaying reaction times in a busy city centre has plagued other self-driving startups.

“We don’t have the lasers and the Lidar sensors and our base system is very inexpensive and allows us to launch and very quickly scale our service,” says von der Ohe. “This is an industry where a lot of money has been poured into but now with a different approach we hopefully can get to a commercial service very quickly.”

The launch for Vay in the leafy Bergedorf district of Hamburg while ambitious for Europe comes as the main robotaxi players in the U.S. plan a major expansion. Waymo has been running a driverless taxi service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, since 2019 and recently began taking fares …….


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NASCAR’s Symmetrical Next Gen Cars Are Getting Skewed In Practice – Jalopnik

NASCAR’s newest Next Gen cars may be designed to make these vehicles as symmetrical as possible, but some teams have already found a way around the rules. During this week’s test session at Daytona International Speedway, some cars have been running some fairly excessive skew — and right now, it could very well be totally legal.

Basically, skew refers to the angled nature of the NASCAR Cup Series car. The front end looks like it’s pointing in a different direction than the car is actually going, which gives the whole thing a sort of crab-walk look. The rear axle is mounted on a skew when compared to the whole chassis. For…….


Is Norway the future of cars? – Kathimerini English Edition

The speed by which electric vehicles have taken over Norway has stunned even the cars’ enthusiasts. [Asya Demidova/The New York Times]

Last year, Norway reached a milestone. Only about 8% of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids.

For years, Norway has been the world leader in shifting away from traditional cars, thanks to government benefits that made electric vehicles far more affordable and offered extras like letting electric car owners skip some fees for parking and toll roads.

Still, electric car enthusiasts are stunne…….