One Buckinghamshire community is testing a revolutionary car-hailing system that uses remote control technology to send vehicles to their drivers.
Fetch customers in Milton Keynes can summon a car using an app. A control room operator drives it to them.
The passengers then drive to their destinations before the car can be remotely parked and sent to another customer.
Because it’s small enough to be considered a village, the multi-million-pound trial will take place around MK Dons’ football stadium.
British startup Imperium Drive runs the scheme. Only employees have yet to use the app, but League One players will soon be able to access it to reach their training grounds.
Imperium Drive’s Fetch trial, which is located in Milton Keynes and operated by start up firm Imperium Drive allows customers to call an app to summon a car, which will be driven to their location by a control operator.
It is available for free right now. It says it doesn’t compete with companies that work on driverless cars like Tesla or Ford.
Chief executive Koosha Kaveh, 37, a Cambridge-educated electrical engineer, said: ‘We are not an autonomous vehicle company, we have remotely driven technology which requires a lot less investment and a lot less time to bring to market.
‘We believe that the autonomy promised is being pushed back because it is a very difficult problem to solve, whereas remote driving still has a person involved – in a control room.’
The current fleet includes a saloon, an electric microcar and a sedan.
The trial, which has received Government funding, could be broadened to cover Milton Keynes as soon as March – but the cars are not yet legal on public roads.
If the project is successful, investors will be invited to invest more money and the scheme could eventually expand across the UK.
The goal is for one controller to be able manage 10 cars.
It claims that there will be positive environmental effects as it can reduce the amount of private vehicles on roads.
Although remote driving technology has been tested in several countries, Fetch which was launched last year is believed to have been the first UK-based pilot program.