Driverless Testing at Halo.Car in Downtown Las Vegas

Halo.car began with a simple question: how to radically increase the use of electric vehicles while making them accessible without ownership.

Gas powered cars are responsible for 17% of total annual GHG emissions in the US. Today there are more than 200m gas cars in the US, compared to less than 5m electric vehicles. Getting more people to drive EVs sooner is a critical way to reduce the 100m tonnes of CO2 emitted annually by driving. 

But simply pushing everyone to buy an EV isn’t the answer. Today the average EV costs $900/month, making the switch difficult for many, not to mention how much of our cities we give up to parking lots - with the average car spending 23 hours a day parked. 

At Halo, our solution is offering affordable EV carshare, by the hour or by the day. Rather than requiring customers to pick up the car, we deliver it on-demand, and once finished with the car, we collect it and take it to the next customer or location. 

What makes us different is that we do this remotely.

We fit cameras, sensors and hardware onto our rental fleet, and train drivers to become ‘remote pilots’ who deliver and collect the cars from a console located in our Headquarters.

Remote piloting makes it massively more efficient to move cars between customers, car parks, and charging stations, meaning that we can offer a on-demand carshare service that’s far more convenient while still affordably priced. 

Driverless Testing at CES

We started developing the technology in 2019 and this year we launched our live beta in Las Vegas, allowing real users to book cars and have them remotely delivered. 

So far when we have remote piloted, there has been a person sitting in the driver’s seat inside the car. We call them a safety driver. The safety driver is in communication with the remote pilot at all times and plays a crucial support role, with the ability to take over control of the vehicle at any time. During our 2021 testing, we remotely drove thousands of miles safely thanks to our safety drivers inside the cars. 

As of the first week in January, we have officially begun testing driverless technology to the public.  

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The empty remote piloted cars are followed closely behind by a second car ,a ‘chase car,) that has the ability to bring the remote piloted car to a stop immediately with an emergency braking device. The two people inside the chase car communicate with the remote pilot and visually monitor the remote piloted car on the road. Chase cars allow us to monitor the performance of the in-car safety systems we have built while providing a secondary safety mechanism similar to a safety driver inside the vehicle. 

Moving from safety driver-backed remote piloting to chase car-backed piloting is a significant step for us towards the goal of unmanned deployment, where our remote pilots will drive cars on the road without the support of a safety driver or a chase vehicle. Unmanned deployment is where we will be able to unlock the highest cost efficiency and convenience. The progression is the result of our significant testing completed to date where we have validated the performance of our remote piloting technology and the safety systems beneath.

During CES, we demoed our new developments for more than 25 companies/individuals [Check out the highlights in MotorTrend and Electrek] - and this is just the beginning! 

We’re extremely proud of the team and the strides we’re making towards a more sustainable future.