Picture: Halo.Cars

Halo.Car, yesterday announced a $5M seed round led by climate tech fund At One Ventures, with participation from T-Mobile Ventures, Earthshot Ventures, and existing investor Boost VC. 

The capital raised will enable the start up to accelerate growth of its driverless electric carshare fleet in Las Vegas following a successful beta launch earlier this year.  

Halo.Car has said that its mission is to increase the global transition to electric vehicles by offering truly convenient electric carshare. 

Halo.Car’s service eliminates the “waiting and walking” associated with traditional carshare and rental services by delivering EVs on-demand to a customer’s exact location. 

The vehicle is delivered driverless by one of Halo.Car’s remote pilots who navigate using video and sensor data streamed from Halo’s hardware fitted on the car. 

Upon delivery, the customer takes control of the car, and on completing their booking, summons a remote pilot to reconnect to the car and remotely pilot it back to Halo.Car’s headquarters. The vehicles can be rented by the hour or at a flat rate per day. 

The remote pilots will use T-Mobile 5G to connect and operate the vehicles, alongside other mobile networks. This is T-Mobiles first ever seed stage investment through its T-Mobile Ventures fund, a multi-year investment fund focused on early and emerging growth companies building the next big thing in 5G. 

“Two in ten American households own three or more vehicles, despite the average vehicle being parked for 23 hours a day. This is a massive expense for consumers and bad for the cities they live in,” said Anand Nandakumar, Founder and CEO of Halo.Car.  

“Halo.Car eliminates the friction associated with traditional carshare to make it easy for customers to switch and start driving electric. Customers save money on a monthly car payment without losing the convenience of having a car at their doorstep.” 

One Ventures is leading the $5M funding round. The company is a venture capital firm which backs startups using deep tech to disrupt their established industries. 

Widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles is still forthcoming, and even when they arrive, it will be essential to have technology like Halo.Car’s in place that allow human backup in challenging situations,” said One Ventures founding partner Tom Chi.   

“Until then, on-demand carshare enabled by Halo.Car’s remote pilot technology can accelerate the transition to EVs while freeing customers from needing to own and maintain a vehicle – a cost that is roughly $6K per year in the US.” 

Halo.Car has developed multiple systems to ensure its driverless technology is safe and reliable for operation and is one of the few companies approved by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to deploy on public roads.  

The vehicles use proprietary patent-pending algorithms to leverage the strongest network connection available at any time, said the company. This allows for high performance streaming at low latency and enables remote pilots to safely drive vehicles from thousands of miles away. As a final safety measure, if a vehicle loses connection to all available networks, it independently comes to a controlled full stop. 

In February last year, Halo.Car began testing in Las Vegas, completing thousands of miles safely before launching the public beta in July of 2022.  

During the beta phase, support operators sit inside vehicles to oversee the remote piloted deliveries. The company has said that nearly a thousand customers have signed up to the beta waitlist since its opened, highlighting the popularity of the Halo.Car’s carshare offer.  

Halo.Car expects to remove the support operators and offer fully remote deliveries later this year at its official commercial launch. The commercial launch will initiate the next chapter of the company’s growth, where it will scale the fleet and expand to more cities with a target of 1,000 EVs on road by end 2023.