Revolutionizing Autonomous Driving – A Berlin Start Up’s Novel Approach Towards Building Driverless Electric Mobility
Publish Date: September 30th, 2022
We sat down with Koosha Kaveh, CEO of Imperium Drive, to talk about their vision to revolutionize autonomous driving, the company’s location in Berlin, and their plans to expand into the US.
How did you get the vision to establish Imperium Drive?
Me and my cofounders met at Factory Berlin as part of an acceleration program called Entrepreneur First back in March 2019. One of my cofounders Navid Nourani had just left working for many years at autonomous driving division of companies like VW and Siemens. He had first hand experience with the latest state of the development in the sector and knew human oversight and supervision is going to vital if we are to deploy autonomous vehicles on our roads in the coming years. We started the company looking at how we can build technology to allow humans safely take control of autonomous vehicles remotely from a control centre when autonomy fails.
Very soon we realized that the timeline for deployment of autonomous vehicles is getting stretched further and further and we can apply our technology to take a completely novel approach towards building driverless electric mobility all together which we call the remote-drive-first approach.
Please explain Imperium Drive’s unique approach to autonomous driving.
We firmly believe the most practical approach to reach autonomy is to keep humans in the loop and initially let them drive a car remotely for 100% of the time and then gradually reduce the reliance on humans through more automation. By utilizing our remote driving technology, we have already launched a carsharing service today where users can summon a conventional carshare to their doorway with a smartphone app in less than 5 minutes.
Once booked, the car is remotely driven by an operator from a control room, similar to how a drone is operated completely driverless. Once the car is delivered, the user unlocks the car on the app and drives to his/her destination as normal car hire. An operator will take over the car remotely and drive the car to the next customer or back to base once the user has ended the trip. Currently one human is responsible for one car.
We plan to build more automation into our remote driving technology in order to reduce the role of the remote human operator and allow him to be in charge of multiple vehicles at a given time.
Please talk about your current locations. How many Imperium Drive locations are there currently?
We currently have two locations one in Milton Keynes, UK and one in Berlin Germany.
Why is Berlin one of your business locations of choice?
We have been in Berlin for over 3 years now because berlin offers a great location for us to access top talent and other partners in the automotive industry. Also, the cost of living being much lower compare to many other European capitals really helps early stage startups to keep their burn rate down and go much further with their initial funding.
What are your plans when it comes to expanding in the U.S.? What factors influence your location decisions in the U.S.?
We have not made any plans for US expansion yet but once we do the most important deciding factor would be to understand which cities and states have the most permissive policies for launching autonomous vehicles.
Can you recommend what type of partners are helpful in expanding to the U.S. or any other pertinent advice to Berlin companies exploring U.S. markets?
Before expanding into the US, I strongly suggest reaching out to Berlin Business Office and ask for making the right introductions in the market. Their network is great and they can pretty much connect you with any important organization in the US.
What are Imperium Drive’s future plans for the U.S.?
We are certainly interested to enter the US market in the future but currently in the phase of researching and have not made any concrete decisions on where and when to enter the market.