Autonomous driving goes SOLO to address chip shortage

SOLO (Electra Meccanica)
SOLO (Electra Meccanica) /

Ridesharing and food delivery are increasing in demand, but chip shortages and lack of drivers are curbing the growth of these services. But, thanks to a partnership between SOLO and Faction, a solution is in the works. Not familiar with the names? The two relatively new companies are trying to change how people get around and how products are delivered.

SOLO, built by the Canadian company ElectraMeccanica Vehicles, is a single-passenger, three-wheel electric vehicle with a maximum range of 100 miles and speeds of 80 miles per hour on a 17.3-kilowatt-hour battery pack. While the company has been around for 15 years, it relaunched in 2018. Faction was founded in February of 2020; the Silicon Valley start-up develops driverless and remote vehicle operation technology.

The agreement has SOLO EVs going to Faction to test their autonomous driving technology powered by the patent-pending DriveLink™ Platform. There are currently three SOLOs being used in a pilot program by Faction, but that number could grow to 24 over the next 12 months.

Kevin Pavlov, CEO of ElectraMeccanica, said, “we believe Faction’s technology is essential in the evolution towards fully autonomous driving, enabling vehicles to deliver cargo through a combination of autonomy and a remote worker using teleoperations to assist. We look forward to working with the team at Faction to test our vehicle with its technology platform and to promote urban micro delivery.”

Urban Driving Needs to Change

Faction claims that 90% of car rides in urban areas are one passenger traveling 5 miles. The company says the regular-sized, gas-consuming vehicles are not sustainable for this use, given emissions and the resulting gridlock. So now it’s moving one step further with autonomous cars.

Ain McKendrick, founder and CEO of Faction Technology, said, “We are excited to move toward implementing our driverless and remote vehicle operation technology into several SOLO EVs in the coming months so that we can begin real-world testing and data collection.” The partnership seems like the perfect combination.

"“The SOLO EV is an excellent candidate for Faction’s mission to right-size urban delivery and transportation, well suited for our unique approach to combining driverless technology with lightweight vehicle systems.” – Ain McKendrick, founder and CEO of Faction Technology"

With prices increasing and the chip shortage and lack of driver issues not diminishing, these partnerships are consumer and environmentally friendly alternatives. A SOLO costs $18,500, with its somewhat large cargo version coming in at $24,500. These units already have a lot of options, but if the partnership success continues, it may have another option to offer – your own chauffeur named DriveLink.

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