Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 25

Las Vegas ride-sharing startup plans to dispatch
vehicles driverlessly, then let the customer take the wheel
MAKING REMOTE
A POSSIBILITY
BY ALEX HASLAM
S
ALT LAKE CITY - Ride-sharing
has disrupted the car rental and
taxi industries over the past
decade, and now Halo, a service
that plans to launch in the Las Vegas
area this year, hopes to bring innovation
to the ride-sharing industry itself. It plans
to run its service using electric vehicles
that are " driverless, " but not in the way
one might expect.
To hop a ride on Halo, customers would
call up a vehicle using Halo's mobile app.
From there,
the vehicle would head to
the customer's location, controlled by a
human remotely, with nobody in the driver's
seat. The customer would take the
wheel once the car arrives.
A promotional
video
shows what
appears to be a Kia Niro electric crossover,
decked out in Halo markings, arriving at
the curb in front of a passenger's home.
The promo video then cuts to a Halo engineer
who has been using a steering wheel
to direct the vehicle as he watches a video
feed on a large screen.
Halo plans to operate only in the Las
Vegas Valley initially. In a conversation
over email, CEO Anand Nandakumar,
who founded Halo in 2019, said that
the company is targeting a launch of at
least
five all-electric vehicles, but will
start expanding operations after the first
deployment.
One major factor in Halo's Las Vegas
launch is the company's relationship with
T-Mobile, which provides 5G coverage in
the area. Halo is one of several startups
that have participated in the 5G Open
Innovation Lab, which T-Mobile, Intel and
others co-founded last year to help fuel
development of new 5G applications.
Nandakumar called the telecom company
one of Halo's " key partners, " noting:
" Our cars operate on 4G and LTE with
the current infrastructure in place, but 5G
helps significantly in bringing down the
latency of our remote operations. "
In a press release, John Saw, T-Mobile's
executive vice president, advanced and
emerging technologies, said, " Driverless
vehicles require a network with high
capacity, broad coverage and low latency,
making T-Mobile 5G a perfect match for
developers such as Halo. "
A strong Internet connection helps
ensure that the vehicles stay connected
to remote drivers. Halo's RemotePilot
technology allows them to move cars
between pickup locations as soon as customers
reach their destinations.
For some tech-wary riders, this new way
to travel might take some getting used to.
In T-Mobile's press release, Nandakumar
acknowledged this: " Full autonomy is a
massive challenge from both a technical
and social trust perspective that won't be
solved for years to come. But Halo has
been designed to address these challenges
by building automation over time starting
with a solution that consumers will feel
comfortable using today. "
Halo says it has developed an advanced
" safe stop " mechanism that provides
a layer of protection from road hazards.
It enables its cars to immediately stop
if a potential safety hazard or system
anomaly is detected. In addition, intelligent
learning algorithms help the vehicles
learn from the driving behaviors of
humans behind the wheel and constantly
improve the experience overall.
Nandakumar noted that Halo's leadership
team " will share more information on
how the rollout will be upon [completion
of Halo's] internal operational strategy. "
In a recent mobility tech report,
search firm Pitchbook said Halo's model
could " disrupt the dynamics of the mobility
industry by offering the convenience of
on-demand ride-hailing with the flexibility
of car-sharing. "
Additionally, Pitchbook wrote: " Halo's
approach is highly scalable and avoids the
immense capital expense, complexity and
timeline uncertainty of developing and
commercializing robotaxis. " n
august 2021 * shift 25
Halo's CEO says 5G will
help reduce latency in its
remote operations.
re

Shift Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shift Magazine - August 2021

Contents
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - Cover1
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - Cover2
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - Contents
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 4
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 5
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 6
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 7
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 8
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 9
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 10
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 11
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 12
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 13
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 14
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 15
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 16
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 17
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 18
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 19
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 20
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 21
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 22
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 23
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 24
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 25
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - 26
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - Cover3
Shift Magazine - August 2021 - Cover4
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