Phantom Auto Expands to Remote-Control Trucks, Completes Series A Funding
【Summary】California-based Phantom Auto updated its teleoperation services to serve yard trucks, forklifts and industrial fleets found in warehouses, commercial delivery sites and large-scale retail storage centers.
While waiting for autonomous vehicles to hit public roads, some startups are venturing to new projects and services. A company that has successfully implemented such strategy includes California-based Phantom Auto. The business specializes in remote assistance for autonomous vehicles stuck in complex or critical driving situations.
When the startup was founded in 2017, its primary focus was self-driving cars. However, without driverless vehicles to help on roads (at this time), Phantom Auto updated its teleoperation services to serve yard trucks, forklifts and industrial fleets found in warehouses, commercial delivery sites and large-scale retail storage centers.
Teleoperation and Trucking Efficiency
The remote-driving service offered by the business could improve operating efficiency, address driver storages and boost safety. Phantom Auto revealed that its customers aren't using remote drivers to replace humans at the workplace. Instead, businesses are training their employees to use the remote system, allowing operators to conduct trucking or forklift duties from a single control center. With the remote platform, workers do not have to waste time traveling to different sections of the site. In fact, individuals could be located thousands of miles away from the vehicle.
"There has been zero innovation with yard trucks in the past 40 years," said Elliot Katz, Co-founder of Phantom Auto. "And customers in this segment are itching to gain efficiencies. That's the name of the game for them. They see this as a path to get there."
"If you see a delivery robot in public, there is a solid chance it is using our teleoperation software."
According to remote drivers employed by the startup, operating work vehicles from a different location is like playing a video game. Employees are provided access to a traditional steering wheel, pedals, headset and an array of computer screens. There's also a highly visible emergency-stop push button for immediate disengagement.
Currently, Phantom Auto is testing its remote-control trucks with Terberg Group, a vehicle manufacturer with headquarters in the Netherlands. During the trials, remote operators are required to navigate vehicles from a control center more than 2,500 miles away from the site.
There are no human workers present inside the trucks (based a demo video released by the company). Communication between the teleoperation software and remote driver is facilitated by low-latency, high-bandwidth networks.
Series A Financing Round
To help the startup reach its goals, the company recently held a Series A funding round. The financing event raised $13.5 million, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. With offices in Mountain View and Tel Aviv, Phantom Auto has raised a total of $19 million across two funding rounds (Seed and Series A).
"There are a lot of benefits to the remote control model as it can it can guide resources more efficiently than an autonomous driving model," said Holger Mueller, Analyst at Constellation Research Inc.
Teleoperation technology being developed by the startup has massive potential. In boosting safety at fast-moving work sites, many businesses have shifted to remote solutions. Such safety measures include the use of sensors on heavy-duty machines and remote observation cameras in combustible facilities.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
Waymo Receives Permit to Participate in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Pilot
How Do Autonomous Cars Deal with Double-parked Vehicles?
Kitty Hawk and Boeing Form Partnership to Make Flying Cars Safer
Waymo to Bring Driverless Cars to France and Japan via Nissan-Renault Partnership
Porsche Forecasts EVs Going Mainstream
Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
Alibaba Brings Tmall Genie to Audi, Honda and Renault Vehicles
Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
- Tesla Will Not Offer a Model 3 Performance Variant for Under $50,000
- Quick Comparison: Long Range Tesla Model X vs. the BMW X5 50i
- Ride-Hailing Giant Uber Posts $5 Billion Loss as Growth Slows
- Russia's Yandex is Looking to Grow its Self-Driving Car Fleet Tenfold to Accelerate Developement
- Automakers Toyota & Geely Join Baidu’s Open Apollo Autonomous Driving Platform
- Lyft Offering Data From Level 5 Autonomous Fleet to Public
- Audi’s AI:Trail Quattro Concept Is the Autonomous, EV That Looks out of This World
- Argo AI Invests $15 Million in Carnegie Mellon University for New Research Center
- BMW Unveils the Fully-Electric MINI Cooper With a Long List of Tech and Not Much Range
- 12 U.S. States Band Together to Challenge Trump Administration’s Fuel Economy Penalty Freeze