Remotely driven car rental service launches in Las Vegas

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. stall / stɔl / (v.) – to stop developing or making progress

    The construction of the new bridge has stalled because of budget issues.

  2. in the fast lane / ɪn ðə fæst leɪn / (idiom) – in a situation in which something is progressing quickly, often more quickly than its competitors

    The young man’s business is in the fast lane, growing rapidly compared to others in the industry.

  3. autonomously / ɔˈtɒn ə məs li / (adv.) – (of a machine or system) in a way that can do things on its own, without needing direct control or help from humans

    Some smart devices can operate autonomously by following programmed instructions.

  4. reproduce / ˌri prəˈdus / (v.) – to make or create a copy of something

    Images from the camera are reproduced on the computer screen for everyone to see.

  5. reliant / rɪˈlaɪ ənt / (adj.) – needing help, support, or resources from someone or something else to be successful

    Farmers are reliant on favorable weather conditions for a successful harvest.


Read the text below.

Self-driving cars might have stalled, but now remote or “teledriving” tech is in the fast lane.

German teledriving company Vay launched its first commercial service on January 17, letting Las Vegas users order a “teledriven” electric rental car to their location. With the push of an app, users in Las Vegas can now order a rental car, and it’ll be remotely driven to them by a “teledriver.”

It’s the first commercial rollout of German teledriving company Vay’s technology, showing the potential for vehicles driven remotely by humans, rather than autonomously by a computer. “You’ll be able to hit a button, get a car delivered to you in a couple minutes, similar to the way that users would be used to with other mobility apps,” explains Vay’s U.S. general manager, Caleb Varner.

“When that happens, the car will be delivered to them driverlessly, they’ll pop in, drive the car wherever they want, whether it’s for a couple minutes, a couple hours, or even more. They’ll bring it back, hit the button. The driver that sits in this chair here will take that car back from them and take it to the next user.”

Founded in 2018, Berlin-based Vay has spent five years developing its teledriver tech. The company raised $95 million in funding in late 2021.

For now, the service is limited to around the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the city’s downtown Arts District. Vay is hoping users will be attracted by the ease of ordering a rental car to their location, and the promise of lower per-minute prices, compared to other rideshare services.

Drivers sit at a so-called “teledrive station” with a steering wheel, pedals, and other vehicle controls. The car’s surroundings are reproduced via camera sensors and transmitted to screens. Road traffic sounds, like emergency vehicles and other warning signals, are transmitted via microphones to the teledriver’s headset.

“There’s really no difference. It’s just like driving any regular car,” Teledriver Antonella Rosa says.

But the rollout of such remote services is reliant on legislation allowing vehicles to drive on public roads without a physical person behind the wheel.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In your opinion, how will teledriving impact the job market for professional drivers (ex. it will make their jobs easier, the market will be more competitive)? Do you think teledriving would generally have a positive or negative impact on the industry? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think it would be beneficial to make teledriving technologies accessible to the general public? Why or why not? Where do you think these technologies would be best utilized (ex. delivery services, public transportation)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Which one would you trust more: a teledriving car or an autonomous vehicle? Why? Discuss.
  • Would you feel comfortable sharing the road with vehicles that operate without a human driver? Why or why not? Discuss.