January 31, 2023

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Using the remote control: Truck and taxi drivers will soon be working in the office

No one dealing with traffic and logistics in the near future can avoid the buzzword of autonomous driving. But every year there are announcements of when this will happen pushed into the future. The reason: There are simply too many unresolved technical, social and political problems.

Remote-controlled cars are an intermediate step to self-driving

Remote control driving can be an intermediate step before this mountain of unresolved problems. The cars are equipped with cameras that allow a comprehensive view, and the control of the car is equipped with sensors that enable remote control. Camera recordings end up on screens in the cockpit that resemble a regular truck or car cockpit; With pedals and a steering wheel through which the car can be controlled via a mobile phone network.

Spedition saves time – and the driver can go home in the evening

Advantages of this technology: The freight agency saves a huge amount of time. For example, while a truck is being loaded or unloaded, the driver can actually remotely control another truck. And after one driver’s shift, another driver can take over directly. The truck can be run more efficiently and the driver does not slip into his bed in some resting area after a shift, but goes home as an office worker.

A pilot project now presented by the innovation unit of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and Munich startup Fernride shows that we’re not far from it on the streets. HHLA wants to use Munich technology to remotely control trucks and other vehicles in the port area of ​​the container port in Tallinn, Latvia.

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The technology can be immediately used in regular operations

According to the HHLA announcement, the pilot project aims to promote automation and sustainability in logistics and address a shortage of truck drivers. already available self-driving technology With “human expertise in remote operations”. This makes it possible to use the technology directly in normal operations, also because route approval is not required on private land in a container port.

Remote-controlled cars without drivers are safe in Hamburg

The step into the general traffic area is ultimately the goal of the participating companies. And this is quite realistic. Because the combination of autonomous driving and remote control by humans has been in testing for some time. Previously, the safety driver had to sit behind the wheel in order to be able to intervene directly if a remote control malfunction occurred or the remote control communication failed. According to the company, since last December, Vay has been “the first company in Europe” to carry out remote-controlled flights without a safety driver on public roads in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg. The Hamburg Transport and Mobility Authority, founded in 2020, issued the exemption.

A combination of car rental and taxi service

Vay offers a mix of taxi and car rental services using remote control technology. Customers order a car via the mobile application. Tele driver delivers the car remotely. Customers can then either drive themselves or let the Tele driver drive like a taxi. Here too, remote control technology is combined with hardware for self-driving, so that if communication with the remote driver fails, for example, the car should still be able to brake independently and park to the right.

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The rental car comes exactly where it is needed

Here, too, human drivers can be used more efficiently thanks to technology: if customers want to use the car themselves as a rental car, the drivers call another vehicle. It’s very easy for customers to use the car as a rental car: it goes where you want to pick it up and the remote control driver drives back at the destination: no need to search for a parking space or tedious location search for a car rental company. And drivers can work in an office environment with all the amenities there and finish work on time – if the transfer comes on time.

Remote control becomes a reality faster than purely autonomous driving

At the same time, in many cases, the group is working on problems that purely autonomous driving still faces today: technology still struggles, to get to know things Sometimes he mistakes an inflated plastic bag for an animal and reacts with appropriate emergency braking. Also the question of liability that’s purely in it Autonomous technology still raises many open questions-Easier to answer with the remote control. Remote control of vehicles could become a reality on the roads in the foreseeable future, and the experience gained with them could also contribute to the further development of autonomous technology.