Image: Phantom Auto

Sweden-based NEVS (formed from the assets of the former Saab Automobile) is working with Phantom Auto on a remote-operator solution for autonomous vehicles. In this, a human can step in to take control of the vehicle, perhaps in a critical situation or what Phantom describes as ‘edge cases’: unmapped road construction areas, severe weather, instructions from public safety officials such as police, or for extra passenger reassurance. This also potentially gives an alternative to - or back-up for - human 'safety drivers' during testing exercises. Phantom calls this service ‘teleoperation’, and offers communication software plus an API for real-time assistance and guidance.

Phantom Auto, founded in 2017, is based in Mountain View, California, with another office in Tel Aviv, Israel. Its CEO, Shai Magzimof, said in a statement: “It is vitally important that lifesaving AVs get deployed rapidly and at scale, but it is imperative that they are deployed in an optimally safe manner. By using Phantom Auto’s teleoperation safety technology, NEVS’ electric AVs will have a remote operator in the loop who can take over control if necessary, thus ensuring the safest possible experience for passengers in their vehicles.”

NEVS CEO Stefan Tilks noted: “Our AVs must be able to drive from any point A to any point B, which means driving through all edge cases they experience on the road, such as inclement weather, road work, and any other road obstructions. Phantom Auto’s teleoperation safety technology ensures that passengers in our vehicles can safely and efficiently drive through any edge case, and that’s why I am excited and proud to call them NEVS’ partner.”

NEVS intends to deploy autonomous vehicles in the EU and in China in the early 2020s, and is shortly to open a new innovation center and another production facility in Shanghai. This will be in addition to its factory in Tianjin and the research and development facilities in Saab’s home town of Trollhättan, Sweden.

-Farah Alkhalisi