Alphabet Inc.’s Google is getting into self-driving cars in a new way. Gradient Ventures, an early-stage venture fund within Google, is leading a $6 million investment in a new company that’s building software to let humans control cars remotely. Scotty Labs, a nine-person startup, works on “teleoperations,” an emerging slice of the autonomous vehicle business that may grow more critical as the field faces closer scrutiny.California recently moved to let companies test driverless cars on public roads with remote human operators, starting in April. Scotty’s technology is designed for new regulatory environments like this. When a self-driving car finds itself in a tricky situation – stuck in snow, or behind a truck for instance – it alerts a trained operator in a call center who takes over.Scotty Labs (as in “beam me up, Scotty”) has built remote-driving equipment that looks like a souped-up arcade game. It’s also working on faster wireless networking technology so human operators can steer cars with minimal latency, a big outstanding hurdle.Nissan Motor Co. and other companies have begun testing their own remote-control systems. Some of these firms, including Alphabet’s Waymo, believe vehicles will, eventually, come without steering wheels. Scotty’s bet is that some person, somewhere, will still need to be involved. “The idea is to help get the safety driver out of the vehicle,” founder Tobenna Arodiogbu said.He also… Read full this story
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