From the end of November 2017, a driverless shuttle will be tested at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport by the ADP Group, as part of its innovation programme.
Edward Arkwright, executive director general of the ADP Group, announced on 19 October at the "Airport Start-up Day" held at Paris-Charles de Gaulle that tests on a driverless vehicle would take place at the end of November. The project had already been discussed last May at the launch of the "Play your Airport" challenge.
A 600-metre route integrated into local traffic
The shuttle – which will hold up to 12 people as well as an operator to ensure that the test runs smoothly – will run along a route of over 600 metres from the CDG 1 RER B line suburban train station. It will go through the Hilton and Citizen M hotel zone and the ADP Group and Air France Industrie office complexes, and of particular note is the fact that the route will be integrated into local traffic.
"The idea is to see how we can combine a driverless vehicle with existing traffic," Arkwright explained to French website Usine Digitale. The shuttle, fitted with various sensors, will be programmed to cross over Rue de Rome which is the road alongside the headquarters of the ADP Group, who are thus hoping to test out "the framework of smart road traffic infrastructure". The shuttle itself was developed by Navya and is being run by Keolis.
Six-month experimental phase
During the first three months of testing, only volunteers from the ADP Group will be authorised to test the shuttle. The project will integrate their technical feedback and thus provide an opportunity to iron out any problems either linked to insurance or of a regulatory nature (such as authorisations from the Ministry of Transport and the local authorities).
The shuttle should then be available for general use from Q1 2018, with the group planning an awareness campaign for users of the driverless vehicle, including explanations of how it works. This will also help to evaluate the potential of this type of shuttle within an airport environment.
Major technological challenge
All of the major European, Asian and North American hubs are currently looking into the use of driverless vehicles, as they represent an ideal solution for improving both the quality of service and the regularity of transport, as well as relieving congestion on the roads, according to the ADP Group.
This technology has vast potential for applications such as the use of a fleet of vehicles both for passengers and staff, and autonomous luggage trolleys. The ADP Group also mentioned that its data would be a crucial aspect in terms of the real-time supervision and monitoring of all driverless vehicles.
The project has a budget of 200,000 euros and is part of a global innovation programme set up by the ADP Group in March 2017, which will see 15 experiments every year, with the long-term objective being the opening of a fourth terminal by 2025
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