German mobility startup Vay raises $95 mln

STOCKHOLM, Dec 14 (Reuters) - German mobility startup Vay said on Tuesday it had raised $95 million from investors such as Kinnevik (KINVb.ST), Coatue and Eurazeo (EURA.PA), as it planned to launch its first car-rental service in Hamburg next year.

A customer could use a mobile app to book an electric car that would be delivered to the pick-up location by a driver steering the vehicle remotely. The customer could then drive it like a normal car and the remote operator moves to steering a different car.

While lots of companies are testing driverless cars using expensive sensors, Vay uses an array of cameras and other features that make it cheaper to aid a person to remotely drive a car.

The service would be cheaper for the customers than ride-hailing services and will be the stepping stone for Vay to slowly introduce fully autonomous features, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Thomas von der Ohe said in an interview.

Ohe co-founded Vay in 2018 with Fabrizio Scelsi and Bogdan Djukic, and counts Atomico, La Famiglia, and Creandum among its investors.

Vay currently uses KIA Nero electric cars and plans to tie-up with other car companies.

Ohe said the company has the backing of the state of Hamburg and is in the final testing and validation phase before hitting the streets on a commercial basis.

Last week, German car authorities approved an highly automated system of Mercedes-Benz car model to allow drivers to focus on other activities while the car is in heavy traffic or on congested highways.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent, based in Stockholm; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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