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Autonomous service launched at second French university

It is the first time in France that autonomous shuttles have operated on open public roads, and shared public space with pedestrians, bicycles and motorised vehicles

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Navya shuttle in operation on Lille's university campus. Picture courtesy: Vincent Lecigne
Navya shuttle in operation on Lille's university campus. Picture courtesy: Vincent Lecigne

Public transport and shared mobility operator, Keolis, and the European Metropole of Lille has launched an electric autonomous shuttle service at the university of Lille in Villeneuve d’Ascq, which has a student population of 20,000 and 1,600 researchers.

 

Worldwide, it is the fourth autonomous shuttle service in a university zone and the second in France.

 

Sharing the public roads

 

The service at Lille university will employ two Navya electric autonomous shuttles for one year and have four dedicated stops on a 1.4 km route, which provides connections to two metro stations.

 

This is the first time in France that autonomous shuttles have operated on open public roads, and shared public space with pedestrians, bicycles and motorised vehicles. It is also the first time that the shuttles will navigate a roundabout without any external assistance (no traffic lights or roadside detectors).

 

This service is free for all users and is accessible to people with reduced mobility as the shuttle is equipped with ramps. The service will operate throughout the day, Monday to Friday, with greater frequency during peak hours. This trial represents another step forward in the integration of autonomous vehicles into the urban landscape.

The shuttle enables people to use a shared mobility service between the university and existing public transport networks

Keolis was encouraged by the results of trials in two universities in Australia (La Trobe in Melbourne, and Flanders in Adelaide) and another one in Rennes in France, where 3,000 passengers travelled onboard the shuttles in the first three weeks of operation.

 

The group is firmly convinced by the importance of autonomous shuttles in improving transport services to campuses as it enables people to use a shared mobility service between the university and existing public transport networks (metro, bus routes, park-and-ride facilities).

 

Since the launch of the first ever shuttle service in Lyon, France, back in September 2016, Keolis has carried out more than 30 trials and demonstrations, driven more than 40,000 kilometres and transported over 120,000 passengers in autonomous shuttles, both in France and internationally.

 

The Lille and Rennes projects are among those proposed by the consortium SAM (Sécurité et Acceptabilité de la conduite et de la Mobilité autonome) in its response to ADEME’s call for projects, EVRA (Expérimentation de Véhicules Routiers Autonomes).

 

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