Vay has operated a driverless electric car on public roads in Hamburg using teledriving technology.

This marks the first time that a vehicle has driven in European road traffic without a safety driver on board.

Vay’s teledriving technology enables driving without a safety driver in the car for the first time in European road traffic

The vehicle was remotely controlled from a teledrive centre in Hamburg, with the driver sitting at a station using a car steering wheel and pedals.

Vay’s CEO and Co-founder Thomas von der Ohe said:

As a leading teledriving company, we have been driving remotely-controlled electric cars on public roads in Berlin and Hamburg for more than three years. With the exemption permit received in December 2022, we were now able to successfully drive the first car without a safety driver on a public road.

This is a huge success for the entire team, but also for Hamburg and Europe. In the context of legally enabling new technologies, this is a significant step and Germany is making leaps in taking the global lead in teledriving technology.

With this technology, Vay is developing a door-to-door service that allows customers to order an electric vehicle via the Vay app. A teledriver then brings the car directly to the customer.

During the drive, the teledriver has an overview of the traffic via several screens and headphones.

Upon arrival, the customer then drives themselves to their destination before the teledriver once again takes over the vehicle to eliminate the need for the driver to find a parking space.

Vay intends for this service to be similarly priced to ride-hailing and is pitting it as a convenient alternative to private car ownership.

With Vay’s system, fewer vehicles could transport more people than conventional individual transport. However, each trip would likely also cover more miles driven as the car does not park with the driver but continues travelling.

The permit for this deployment was issued by Germany’s Authority for Traffic and Mobility Transition (BVM).

Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Traffic and Mobility Transition, said:

Hamburg is a pioneer in the field of digital and innovative mobility services. We want to offer them where they bring real added value for people in their daily mobility. Vay creates such added value with its teledrive service: no need to search for a parking space, emission-free, digitally bookable and as a convenient service, for example for the ‘last mile’ from the bus or train station to your own front door. I am delighted that Vay has taken another important step towards launching its service and has successfully completed Europe’s first test drives without a safety driver on public roads.


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