Keolis and Navya to conduct Canada’s first autonomous shuttle trials on public roads

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The City of Candiac in Quebec is about to host Canada’s first long-term trials of a 100% electric autonomous shuttle on public roads in a multi-partner project to demonstrate new mobility options.

Public transport operator Keolis Canada will run the vehicle from the French manufacturer Navya, with financial support from the Québec government. Other partners in the project include: Propulsion Québec, the province’s smart and electric vehicle cluster; Technopôle IVÉO, a non-profit organization that aims to support small and medium cities in deploying innovative mobility solutions; and the CAA-Quebec Foundation, a non-profit research organization that helps advance knowledge in the area of traffic safety.

For this research program, Keolis has obtained C$350,000 (US$266,000) in financial support from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation as part of its action plan to support demonstration projects in the fields of ground transportation and sustainable mobility.

The Navya Autonom Shuttle will operate in mixed traffic, as part of the first steps toward integrating autonomous shuttles into shared transportation systems, while complementing existing transport networks. The pilot project begins summer 2018 for a period of 12 months, including eight months serving the general public. During the winter, a research and development project to test the shuttle in Québec’s cold weather conditions will take place without passengers on board.

The all-electric Autonom shuttle has a capacity of 15 passengers and operating at a speed of approximately 16mph (25km/h). Navya has conducted 25 international autonomous transport projects, and in partnership with Keolis, the company has tested the vehicle in multiple environments in France, Australia and the USA, safely transporting nearly 110,000 passengers.

In Candiac, Autonom Shuttle will operate along a 1.3 mile (2km) route between the Exo Park-and-Ride lot and the city’s bus terminal and the intersection of Marie-Victorin and Montcalm North Boulevards, with several stops along the way, including City Hall, retirement housing and local businesses.

The shuttle will also allow employees in the area to reach their workplaces from the bus terminal. As part of the trial program, the CAA-Québec Foundation and its partners will be evaluating the possibility of conducting an independent study on the road safety and social acceptance of self-driving transport. The lessons learned would offer key insights into maintaining harmony between different types of vehicle sharing the road space.

“We are proud to work with our partner Keolis Canada and the City of Candiac on this important milestone in Canadian transportation. This project embodies our vision of autonomous shared mobility, and fills an important transportation need for which our shuttles were designed. We commend Québec for its collaborative efforts to complement existing transportation options,” said Navya’s CEO, Christophe Sapet. “We are an ideal partner for municipalities that take a sustainable and viable approach to transportation. Our autonomous shuttles are operating in 17 countries, and we’re pleased to welcome Canada to the list of forward-thinking nations.”

Marie Hélène Cloutier, VP for passenger experience, marketing and sales for Keolis Canada, commented, “The autonomous electric shuttle complements Candiac’s existing transportation offer and is yet another step toward integrated intermodal transportation services.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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