It was at the Estonian embassy that Tesla Magazine was able to attend the presentation and then the demonstration of a remote-controlled car: Elmo proposed by an Estonian start-up.
The company presents itself as a supplier of new generation green mobility services, it has been able to create a place for itself in its domestic market where the company has 14,000 customers and currently only covers Estonia.
It has already deployed 140 vehicles including 55 electric vehicles and 5 hybrid vehicles.
As soon as we arrived we were able to discuss with the CEO of Elmo: Enn Laansoo, which explains the operation of their system in detail: offering a car that would come, as soon as it is ordered on the application thanks to a remote control system, directly in front of the house of a customer who wishes to use a vehicle rental or car-sharing. He can then take full control of the electric car.
This could thus facilitate the delivery of electric vehicles for hire, even if the idea of a car without a driver still seems a bit utopian, for reasons related to safety and legality.
When it was created in 2014 Elmo offered clean vehicle rental and sharing services.
Currently, Elmo offers this new service on Renault Zoé and Nissan Leaf, the technology used works through electronic signals sent. A driver is currently present in the vehicle but he does not control the car itself, which is piloted remotely by a company employee. Due to certain latency issues that may arise, the physically present driver can, as soon as the need arises, take control of the car.
According to ELMO, this technological advance could open up new prospects in the military sector or in that of local transport. But it is above all for its field of activity (automotive and short-term rental services) that the company has developed this system.
Why choose the Nissan Leaf?
Initially, the company chose to use the Nissan Leaf because it is one of the oldest electric cars on the market. The CEO also told us that he had not touched the mechanical aspect of the car, only the electronic aspect. He would like to propose the idea to France and set up this service from the month of June.
For the connection system which would allow the movement of a fully remote-controlled vehicle in the future, it consists of 2 connections connected to 4G which would serve as a support if one of the two breaks down. In the event that the two connections do not work, which represents a risk of appearance of 5%, the vehicle would no longer be guided by the remote control and the vehicle would therefore be stationary.
The Elmo app
Enn Laansoo also introduced us to the mobile application that is offered by the company, here are the main functions:
–Drive Yourself: Here you can see where Elmo Car Sharing cars are located near you.
–Get transfer : This feature would be made available to customers who wish to access a vehicle with a transfer service such as a taxi. (TO DEVELOP)
-Bring it to me: it is thanks to this tab in the application that a customer could receive his vehicle where he indicated it on the app.
-View stats: this tab allows you to see how efficiently you use your Elmo car, it will tell you in particular your consumption and the advantage of having chosen this rental system.
Then you have another tab that re-explains the company’s mission and its technological prowess.
The idea is proposed for car-sharing vehicles or for long-term rentals, the advantage of the brand would be that the car will directly join its future driver in front of his home or you can bring it back from the forest or the beach to his home. you!
For the moment the vehicles are equipped with drivers in case the network is saturated and to guarantee safety above all, but who knows if in the future you will be able to receive your rental car in car sharing in front of your home in no time!
Faced with numerous connection problems that they could encounter, one of the creators of the company explains to us that he would like to set up a card to solve latency problems and facilitate remote control of the car.
The Elmo experience in Paris
After having better understood the company’s project, we were able to attend a demonstration in Paris, a driver is present in the vehicle if the network is saturated in case and another controls the vehicle remotely thanks to this system similar to a video game ! Supporting evidence!
The car then starts on its own, the steering wheel moves on its own remotely controlled by the steering wheel of the control table and off you go! The driver who pilots the car remotely has access to all potential dangers thanks to large screens and blind spot detection, vehicles as well as pedestrians are very visible and he then pilots the vehicle in the city. Unfortunately during the demonstration the network was saturated because the embassy had to provide them with an independent network which they could not obtain. Thus the driver present in the vehicle often regained control but we were still able to see the technological progress of this astonishing prototype!
Even better, Kristina Kalda one of the representatives of the company told us about their test in Toulouse where control was taken from Estonia itself and the experience had amazed and questioned the public even if some network problems were to be deplored.
Tesla Mag review
Even though the idea seems quite scary and risky, it also shows the universe of electric vehicles which continues to expand as technology advances. We are a long way from fully autonomous vehicles, but the futuristic ideas of our ancestors, such as the flying car, seem more feasible to us than ever!
Significant positive point for future remote control for people with reduced mobility!