One of the global leaders in the rail transport industry, Alstom, is taking a minority shareholding in EasyMile, a startup developing driverless electric shuttles that are currently having their potential demonstrated in numerous projects worldwide.
Alstom is investing 14m (US$15m) in fellow French company EasyMile, an innovative startup developing the EZ10 electric-powered driverless shuttle, which can transport up to 12 people (six seated and six standing). The investment forms part of the startup’s ongoing capital increase and Alstom will be present on EasyMile’s board.
Alstom and EasyMile have also signed a commercial partnership agreement aiming at joining their forces to provide integrated solutions for urban transportation. The funds provided by Alstom will be used to accelerate the company’s growth and support its R&D program, while EasyMile will also benefit from Alstom’s worldwide network to increase its global reach. Alstom develops and markets integrated systems, equipment and services for the railway sector, from high-speed trains to metros and tramways. The company is present in over 60 countries and employs 31,000 people worldwide.
Founded in 2014, EasyMile is a high-tech startup specializing in providing both the software powering autonomous vehicles and complete smart mobility systems. Based in Toulouse, France, and with branches Singapore and Denver, Colorado, EasyMile currently has 60 employees.
The company’s EZ10 model provides shared driverless transportation to help solve the ‘first-mile, last-mile’ urban mobility problem. EasyMile electric shuttles operate on a predefined route from a transport hub to a final destination within a precinct, campus, business park or other confined area.
Since April 2015, the EZ10 has been deployed in more than 50 sites in 14 countries in Asia, North America, the Middle East and Europe. An EZ10 is currently on an Autonomous Vehicle Road Trip across the USA, as part of an Alliance for Transportation Innovation (ATI21) demonstration project. The experience and lessons learned through all these worldwide projects is continuously integrated in EasyMile products and systems.
“In the framework of our 2020 strategy, we have decided to explore adjacent businesses, especially in the context of digitization,” explained Bruno Marguet, head of strategy at Alstom. “Through this investment, we are expanding our knowledge into the field of driverless technologies and pursuing our development in the growing field of smart mobility. We are confident in the success of the EZ10, already tested in different climates and conditions.”