Startup’s Autonomy Workaround: ‘Teledrivers’ to Operate Cars from Remote Location

German startup Vay proposes a ‘human teledriver’ sitting at screens to run a vehicle remotely, at least some of the time. It’s an interim measure on the way to full autonomy.

Vay, which is based in Germany, has been testing a slightly different technology on the streets of Berlin that relies on teledrivers doing most of the work, operating the cars from computer stations that have a basic driver’s-seat setup—including a steering wheel, pedals, and several monitors to see what’s around the car—alongside a network that, vitally, doesn’t suffer from too much latency.

Others in the autonomous space have used the term HIL (human in the loop) to describe this kind of part-time human solution to autonomous driving. The basic idea behind HIL is that the car can handle the driving most of the time, but whenever it can’t navigate a particular section, the remote operator steps in to get the car past whatever hazard might be too hard for the automated-driving components to handle.

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