The app tells you your ride is here. (Normal so far, right?)
If startup Halo.Car strikes it big, the next part is where things will take an unexpected turn: you are the one driving.
Oh, and your car is delivering itself, sans driver — well, kind of.
Um, what’s going on here?
Halo’s thing: sending rental cars right to users’ doors using remote operators, per TechCrunch.
- Like any ride-share service, you’d request a pickup at your preferred location.
- Halo’s EV fleet is outfitted with cameras, modems, and antennas; a remote driver at the startup’s operations center uses live video and sensor data to pilot the car to you.
- The remote driver then passes over control, and you pay a $12 hourly rate to drive the vehicle where you please.
Want to try it out?
Go to Las Vegas where the whole driverless delivery schtick is currently being tested.
If successful, it’d be a clever way to skirt competitors’ biggest challenges:
- Halo could compete with Uber and Lyft on pricing by limiting the pesky “having to compensate all the drivers” issue.
- Unlike fully autonomous robotaxi startups, it’d have fewer regulatory and perception hurdles to overcome.
Essentially, Halo monetizes like any rental car company — just using its driverless tech to optimally deploy its fleet.
What’s the downfall?
It only works if Halo can survive the expensive interregnum between now and wider adoption.
- For now, the company deploys not one, but two cars for each rental: the remotely piloted vehicle and a tail car with a human inside. If the primary rental car fails, the tail car can take over.
- Halo says it will stop deploying tail cars “over the next year,” per TechCrunch, if its system performs as hoped.