Autonomous electric shuttle trials in Île-de-France

Keolis is claiming a first for an autonomous electric shuttle bus service which is operating on a new bus line linking a suburban train station with local business parks in the Île-de-France network. 

Following previous trials in La Défense and Vincennes, the project, which is in collaboration with Saint- Quentin-en-Yvelines intercommunal district, is an example of the use of autonomous shuttles as a mobility solution by Île-de-France Mobilités, the public transport authority for the region. 

For the first time, the autonomous shuttles operate alongside regular traffic and feature as a mobility solution in the Île-de-France Mobilités journey planner app, with the other 1,500 bus lines in the network. 

With €2.4 million in funding from Île-de-France Mobilités, the service is free of charge for all passengers and operates Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 8 pm. The new line has been designed to complete the existing bus service by providing a last mile solution for the local employment area. 

From 31 March 2021 to June 2022, three Navya autonomous shuttles will run between the Pas-du-Lac business park in Montigny-le-Bretonneux and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines / Montigny-le-Bretonneux train station, over a 1.6 km route featuring three stops. The shuttles will operate every eight minutes in rush hour and every 17 minutes at off-peak times. 

Each autonomous electric shuttle can carry 11 seated passengers. In each vehicle, a safety operator will be present at all times, ready to intervene if necessary, in compliance with current legislation. The shuttles can navigate safely across busy junctions thanks to on-board V2X technology enabling the shuttles to communicate with traffic lights as well as a retractable bollard connected to the vehicle via a RFID device which is actioned automatically as the shuttle approaches.

Keolis uses a fleet management tool provided by VIA, a developer and provider of on-demand shared ride services. The system tracks the shuttles’ position remotely in real time, and monitors passenger numbers, kilometres covered and vehicle speed.