Note: this “press release” was our April Fools’ Day prank. Please don’t take it seriously.
The leading Finnish software company Atostek has developed a mobile
application “Kauko” which enables remote driving of passenger cars. This
application is an interim step towards self-driving vehicles.
– A fully autonomous car is terrifying especially to elderly people. In
addition, there are open liability issues to be solved. As the e.g.
young, old, sick, intoxicated, and rich can’t drive themselves, there is a
need for driver as a service. However, a traditional personal driver
sitting in a car is vastly too expensive for most of us, says Mr. Mika
Torhola, the Managing Director of Atostek.
– Our solution is an inexpensive mobile application available in popular
app stores. Anybody can sign up as a remote driver and offer remote
driving service whenever and where ever they feel like it. A driver’s
license is not required as legally you’re just using a mobile application
and not directly driving a car. The driver is independent from the car
location and thus capable of serving large number of customers each day,
or even more than one customer simultaneously in case of an exceptionally
skilled driver. This reduces cost dramatically, explains Mr. Torhola.
– A customer can order the driving service through Atostek’s broker
service similar to Uber. However, Atostek’s service provides the driving
service without a car and a driver inside, unlike Uber. In our service,
the customer can use his or her own car, provided that it’s compatible
with the service. Almost any modern car could be made compatible by means
of a simple software update, promises Mr. Torhola.
– Car owners could also lease their vehicles to remote driving service
providers so customers would have the choice of getting a remote driven
car to the home door instead of a taxi. Crowdsourced driving makes
traditional taxis and Uber obsolete, claims Mr. Torhola.
– The driver service scales automatically as during the peak hours the
rates get higher according to the demand. Anybody with a cheap smart phone
could instantly become a professional driver at the home couch, without
owning a car or a license, continues Mr. Torhola.
– Someone might have second thoughts about getting into a car remotely
driven by an unknown virtual driver. There is no need to worry about using
the Kauko service as, similarly to Uber, all the feedback from other
customers to each driver is clearly visible to everybody. In rare cases of
driver getting a phone call during the driving service, or battery running
out of charge in the mobile device, the service will find another driver
in just a few minutes, assures Mr. Torhola.
Kauko service for crowdsourced driving will be launched at Atostek’s home
pages on April 1, 2016.