From 29 June until the end of December 2017, the STIF (Greater Paris Region Transport Union) will be running experimental autonomous electric shuttles around La Défense, the biggest business district in Paris.
After a successful first test-run from January – April this year, that saw a link between the Gare de Lyon and Gare d’Austerlitz stations operated by driverless minibuses designed by French company Easymile, – the parisian La Défense business district is going to be home to three experimental shuttles between now and the end of the year.
These autonomous, electric vehicles will run along pre-defined routes using a multitude of sensors.
Free service available to all
The three shuttles, which according to the STIF are "designed to offer a new type of complementary mobility for users of public transport, covering the first and last few kilometres", will run three different routes.
Two routes will work during weekdays in the biggest business district in Paris (500,000 visitors each day). The first will work from 8 am – 8 pm, the first from la Grande Arche to Valmy, the second from Grande Arche to Faubourg de l’Arche, each with one stop en route, and a third route at weekends from 10 am – 6 pm, between la Grande Arche and Moretti, with two stops along the way.
On 3 July, Valérie Pécresse, president of the STIF and the Greater Paris Region, has officially inaugurated the three shuttles, each of which have room for 11 seated passengers and four standing. These shuttles are available to everyone and free of charge.
Innovative collaboration between Defacto, Keolis and Navya
This experimental shuttle project is the fruit of a partnership between the STIF and Defacto, which is a public company set up to administrate the La Défense business district, and which also works in conjunction with transport company Keolis, and French start-up Navya, which specialises in designing autonomous vehicles.
The shuttles will initially be controlled manually, but from September onwards, they will be fully autonomous. As Stéphane Beaudet, vice-president of the Greater Paris Region in charge of transport, explains, the first stage is "testing this technology and getting people used to the service. The idea is for it to expand more and more in public usage".
Keolis has confirmed that other experiments are in the works around the Paris area and across the rest of France in the months to come.
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