Auto-é opens its online driving school… and gives priority to Ornikar

The start-up offers a license on average 40% cheaper than traditional driving schools. It has obtained the approval of the prefecture that Ornikar is struggling to obtain.

The first French online driving school is born. Auto-é, which for the moment only covers the Ile-de-France region, allows its students to organize their entire training online: they register, review the Highway Code without having to travel, with online video and manual courses, and above all they book their driving lessons online. The platform already offers 42 meeting points in Paris and Ile-de-France, thanks to a network of qualified instructors. Some of them work for auto-é full time, others for a few hours a week. Students can book lessons from Monday to Saturday, from 7am to 10pm, with the instructor of their choice.

On average, in Paris, the price of the code and 20 hours of driving is 1250 euros. Not counting the 10 to 15 additional hours often required to obtain the grail, charged at 55 euros each on average. Auto-é offers unbeatable prices, 40% lower: if the student registers himself at the prefecture, he pays only 675 euros for the code (800 euros otherwise). Each hour of driving is then charged at 42 euros.

Auto-é was co-founded a few months ago by Stanislas Llurens, an expert in legal e-learning training, and Olivier Boutboul, a qualified instructor trainer, who will supervise the teachers in the start-up’s network to ensure the quality of their training.

Prefectural approval obtained in three months

To operate, the start-up obtained an essential prerequisite: a driving school approval, since it is a regulated profession, issued by the prefecture. “We had no problem obtaining it,” says Stanislas Llurens. We submitted our application in April, strictly respecting the legislation in force: we have a premises, certified instructors, etc. … We obtained the approval in July.

Surprising, in these conditions, that the start-up Ornikar, carrying a similar project, has been fighting since January to obtain the same approval. Yet, assures its co-founder, Benjamin Gaignault, the whole file is in order. “We were clearly told that if we still don’t have our approval, it’s for political reasons.” The start-up, which has been communicating for months about its launch, has indeed quickly attracted the attention -and the wrath- of traditional driving schools. Six trade unions have taken the start-up to court, demanding that it be banned for illegally exercising a regulated profession. As Ornikar had not yet started to operate, due to a lack of approval, the start-up was vindicated by the Commercial Court (read: “The online driving school Ornikar wins a first legal battle“, 09/07/14).

Why did Auto-é obtain approval while Ornikar is still waiting for its own? It is, however, the same driving licence office of the Paris Police Headquarters that is in charge of both cases. The co-founders of Ornikar, whose site indicates that they have been waiting for their approval for 280 days, are due to meet the cabinet of the Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, on Friday. They have a strong argument to defend their case: the delivery of the approval to Auto-é

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