Aug 27, 2019


Designated Driver today announced Texas A&M University is adding Designated Driver’s teleoperation technology to its autonomous shuttles. This is the first commercial deployment on public roads for a teleoperation system, and Designated Driver’s system will remotely provide guidance and way points to the shuttles operating in downtown Bryan, Texas.

In the first phase of the deployment, Designated Driver’s Remote Assistance will be integrated into the Texas A&M shuttle autonomy system to authorize the shuttle to proceed at four-way intersections and stops. Over time, additional Designated Driver functionality will be added, including the ability to provide the shuttle’s autonomy system with alternative routes, when needed, enabling it to safely navigate around unanticipated obstacles.

“The Designated Driver system provides a powerful ‘safety net’ for our driverless shuttles,” said Dr. Srikanth Saripalli, an associate professor in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M, who has overseen the shuttle project since its inception in October 2018. “Among our most important observations over the past six months, we found that four-way intersections and stops were the most common scenarios where our safety driver had to intervene. Designated Driver’s technology provides both remote driving and remote assistance—ideal for easily and safely guiding a vehicle through an intersection.”

Enabling remote control of vehicles in the event of obstructions, challenging road conditions and sensor malfunction or where operation is difficult or hazardous, Designated Driver uniquely offers both remote-driving and remote-assistance models for teleoperation. With remote driving, the teleoperator fully takes charge of the car, using the cameras and sensors in the vehicle to maneuver it. However, in most real-world scenarios, the autonomy system is fully functional but simply unable to determine the safest path forward. In these situations—such as at the stops and intersections encountered by the Texas A&M autonomy system—Designated Driver provides remote-assistance technology.

While Designated Driver technology will eventually replace the safety driver, the shuttles will continue to include a safety navigator who will provide support and educate the passengers on the technology. The shuttles will be controlled and monitored by a dedicated teleoperations center at Texas A&M.

“We are enabling Texas A&M to get the safety driver out of the driver’s seat by deploying a reliable teleoperation solution,” said Manuela Papadopol, CEO, Designated Driver. “This model lowers the barrier to entry for any company to provide safe autonomous solutions. We’re excited to help Texas A&M continue to expand its autonomous shuttle program in other vehicles and cities and look forward to using this opportunity to further study the behavior of teleoperators and provide the best user experience for all riders.”

Learn more about Designated Driver and our approach to teleoperation services.

Aug 23, 2019


Women in Autonomy is a new forum for female influencers and innovators in the autotech industry to network, encourage, educate, and exchange ideas that empower women today―and drive the next generation of leaders to accelerate the future of automotive. On August 22, 2019 they hosted their inaugural event in San Francisco, CA. Many incredibly inspired and determined women gathered to share their ideas, passions, and visions for the future of this industry.

Designated Driver CEO Manuela Papadopol spoke on a panel with Nauto COO Jennifer Haroon and DeepMap COO Wei Luo, moderated by Stacey Randecker, Co-Host of “The Flying Car Show.” The four discussed all things autonomy, each bringing their own unique backgrounds and perspective. They discussed where autonomy will be a year from now, how the SAE levels reflect the technology, the biggest barriers to autonomy moving forward, and more.

Key takeaways included:

  • The importance of education to the general public and government, coming from industry experts. Autonomy is extremely complex and for it to be safely and seamlessly integrated onto our roads commercially, it must first be fully understood and accepted by our society.
  • The need for standard definitions, understandings, and regulations for autonomy within the industry, so that we have a common platform for communicating with consumers and government.
  • The biggest barriers to moving autonomy forward are: public policy, public acceptance technology, and infrastructure. All are solvable but must be approached through different angles.
  • SAE levels are a good starting point, but these must be much more updated to reflect reality vs theory.
  • A year from now, we will not have full autonomy. (For perspective, it takes 3-5 years to get a standard, non-autonomous car on the road.) However, we will have much more data, information, and further development.

If you missed the forum and want to watch, access it here.

Learn more about Designated Driver and our approach to teleoperation services.

Jul 17, 2019


Designated Driver completed a world’s first: remotely operating a vehicle in West Sussex, England, from a control center located approximately 5,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon. Our team was able to comfortably drive the car up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed at speeds up to 50 mph.

“This ultra-long-distance teleoperation test is extremely significant because it shows how capable our technology is,” said Lucas Buckland, Designated Driver’s vice president of engineering. “While transatlantic teleoperation has been done with military drones and surgical robotics, this is a first for a passenger vehicle.”

Designated Driver believes this transatlantic operation milestone will benefit its customers in that they can now be assured that international teleoperation is possible, if needed. This feat is an important milestone as Designated Driver produces a robust solution for the secure and reliable teleoperation of autonomous and non-autonomous vehicles with technology that adheres to the highest levels of functional safety.

Learn more about Designated Driver and our approach to teleoperation services.

Jul 9, 2019


Designated Driver is the first teleoperation provider participating in AutonomouStuff’s new Open Autonomy Pilot program. Designated Driver will integrate its teleoperation technology in AutonomouStuff’s autonomy software and state-of-the-art research vehicles.

Enabling remote control of vehicles in the event of obstructions, challenging road conditions, sensor malfunction or where operation is difficult or hazardous, Designated Driver offers both remote driving and remote assistance models for teleoperation. With the remote driving model, the teleoperator fully takes charge of the car, using the cameras and sensors in the vehicle to maneuver it. With Designated Driver’s remote assistance mode of operation—useful for many real-world scenarios—the autonomy system remains fully functional but the teleoperation system also kicks in to better understand the environment and provide guidance that enables the vehicle to continue to safely maneuver itself.

“Designated Driver is a valued partner to us and the addition of their teleoperation system to our Open Autonomy Pilot is truly exciting,” said John Buszek, vice president of product and services, AutonomouStuff. “Our team will now be able to test and gather data on teleoperations, which will allow us to develop more advanced functionalities for autonomous driving.”

The Open Autonomy Pilot aims to enable, accelerate, and deploy technology that drives the future of autonomy. To accomplish this goal, AutonomouStuff’s research vehicles, driven by highly trained safety drivers, are collecting relevant data and testing autonomous driving software in complex, real-world driving conditions.

“We’re thrilled to provide our teleoperation technology to the Open Autonomy Pilot program,” said Manuela Papadopol, CEO, Designated Driver. “We value the opportunity to collaborate with partners like AutonomouStuff to ensure the industry achieves its goal of full autonomy in a safe manner and teleoperation of vehicles is critical to that achievement.”

Full deployment of Designated Driver’s teleoperation technology is expected by September 2019.

Learn more about Designated Driver and our approach to teleoperation services.

Jul 5, 2019


Samsung today announced they will be unveiling the world’s first remotely-controlled 5G car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with partners Designated Driver and Vodafone.

The collaboration has seen the partners working closely to bring 5G to life with a complete end-to-end solution, and this weekend, guests of Goodwood will witness firsthand the speed and connectivity of this advanced technology.

Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. will make 5G history by remotely driving this first-of-its-kind virtual reality car, starting his journey with an initial “drive” up the world-famous Goodwood Hillclimb prior to the opening. The car, a Lincoln MKZ, will be controlled from a different location on the estate powered by a Designated Driver teleoperation system, the new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and a Samsung VR headset; all enabled via Vodafone’s superfast 5G network.

“This proof of concept is a great stepping stone towards remote presence use-case using 5G and the Goodwood FOS was the perfect testing ground. We are thrilled to lead future consumer experience in 5G by pushing the boundaries of our 5G product portfolio and technologies.” said Yoon Lee, Senior Vice President, Product Innovation and Content & Services, Samsung Electronics America.


Max Taylor, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK said “Vodafone is proud to be demonstrating true innovation and another 5G world first with Samsung and Designated Driver. The driver, who is positioned in another location at Goodwood, will guide the autonomous car through a VR headset around the track. Vodafone’s 5G network provides speeds up to 10 times quicker than 4G and super low latency, which is critical for this application where an instantaneous response time is crucial”

“Being a Professional Fun-Haver, I’ve built my career on pushing the limits of car control,” said Gittin Jr. “However, I have never envisioned myself getting crazy behind the wheel using VR, phones and remote driving gear. Designated Driver, Samsung and Vodafone are all bringing their A game when it comes to cutting-edge technologies. I’m going to put on a VR headset to put on a fun interactive show for the Goodwood crowd. And I’ll be remotely driving the S-Drone from the Future Lab, on the other side of the Goodwood estate. This is going to get wild!”


Fans wishing to further engage with the Hillclimb ‘moment of history’ can head to Samsung’s Future Lab zone and watch Vaugh Gittin Jr. in action. Here, they can also discover other engaging activities including the ultimate G-Force experience. Using a state of the art G-force VESARO racing seat, guests can take on the virtual challenge of racing the fastest lap within the Future Hub’s stand. The journey will be captured and shared with the latest Galaxy S10 5G, with the chair connected to Samsung’s exceptional 8k QLED screen for the best-in-class gaming experience.

Goodwood is an ideal platform for inspiring visitors with all things 5G; a highly anticipated technological advancement. Samsung and partners, Designated Driver and Vodafone, are firmly at the forefront of this new technology and are proud to leverage the powerful operational systems, fast network speeds and epic device capabilities to ring in the new era of 5G.

“Goodwood provides the perfect showcase for people to discover and enjoy our latest innovations, along with our partners. We are thrilled to bring to life our new Galaxy S10 5G device through world first experiences that will stay with guests long after the event.” said Kate Beaumont, Innovation, Technology, and Services Director at Samsung UK & Ireland.


Manuela Papadopol, CEO, Designated Driver, added: “We’re excited to be here with Samsung, Vodafone and Vaughn Gittin Jr., showing the world what is possible when you combine innovative and emerging technologies like teleoperation, virtual reality and 5G networks. By utilising the 5G network, we’re able to achieve the lowest latency possible, enabling Vaughn to pilot the car at relatively-high speeds.”

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is open from today until July 7th, 2019. Guests wishing to learn more about the technology or devices can visit the experience zone within the Future Lab.

Learn more about Designated Driver and our approach to teleoperation services.