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The paradox of the driverless future: How Phantom Auto is getting people involved

Bessemer leads Phantom Auto's Series A financing.

By Byron Deeter and Tess Hatch 4.18.19 Frontier

Think about the strangest driving experiences you could ever imagine. It could be a space shuttle cruising down the streets of Los Angeles, a crocodile crossing the road, a meteor shower distracting you while driving in Russia, or a woman in an electric wheelchair chasing after ducks with a broom.

Now multiply that one driving experience by the billions of drivers on the road driving trillions of miles and you’ll realize that edge cases like crossing double yellow lines in construction zones, are easier to navigate compared to these outlandish scenarios.

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As investors in the driverless tomorrow, we believe autonomous vehicles are fast approaching, but these edge cases are significant roadblocks to widespread rollout.

This may seem like an obstacle, however, teleoperation technology is already addressing this reality and helping bridge us to the driverless future we’ve all imagined. The paradox is that humans will play a critical role in the deployment of driverless technology.

The paradox is that humans will play a critical role in the deployment of driverless technology.

Currently, both sides of the AV debate are correct; the driverless market is simultaneously mature and immature. The market will have only ‘made it’ when and if robotaxi fleets are operating in diverse settings, from the streets of Mountain View to the streets of Manhattan. Until then, there are ways to restrict the set of possibilities for AVs in order to achieve some level of deployment in the coming years.

Some of the restricted solution sets include geofenced areas at low speeds or pre-set specific and repeated highway stretches. In all of these scenarios, at least until the technology is much more advanced, humans will have to be integrated into the feedback loop to satisfy the requisite safety standards and completely take over the vehicle when the algorithms do not know what to do.

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Teleoperation technology will enable autonomous vehicles in widespread adoption while also advancing their algorithms and technology. Understanding this paradox and believing that this technology is the necessary foundation of the AV industry, led us at Bessemer to invest in Phantom Auto.

Phantom Auto’s teleoperation software enables a remote operator to drive any vehicle or robot from up to thousands of miles away. This is made possible through the company’s proprietary embedded vehicle software, that provides a reliable high-bandwidth, low-latency connection and secure control of all vehicle functions.

In essence, Phantom Auto, with its teleoperation software, will one day allow companies providing driverless vehicles for consumers, like Waymo, Uber, and Lyft, to drive without safety drivers.

As that day approaches, Phantom is currently working with companies focused on transporting humans in AVs on public roads, such as passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, shuttles, as well as companies in the logistics space focused on autonomously transporting goods (delivery robots, yard trucks, forklifts, etc.)

If you’re interested in working with Phantom Auto, please reach out to the team at contact@phantomauto.com. They would be delighted to give you a demo ride with the remote operator sitting thousands of miles away.

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