Keolis and Navya to launch world’s first fully autonomous shuttle service


The largest private-sector French transport group has announced at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Annual Meeting that it is joining forces with French self-driving-vehicle developer and manufacturer, Navya, to launch the world’s first autonomous and fully driverless shuttle service.

The partnership between transit operator Keolis and Navya aims to bring innovative new mobility solutions to urban networks. The partners’ new service is called Navly, and is currently being tested in Lyon, France, where Keolis operates the bus, tram and subway systems, marking the first time ever that an autonomous vehicle has been used as part of a public transportation network. The service was developed with the support of la Métropole de Lyon and Sytral, the local agency responsible for public transport, and complies with France’s safety regulations for allowing autonomous shuttles to operate on open roads.

The Navly service uses Navya’s Arma vehicle, an intelligent driverless shuttle that can safely transport 15 passengers at speeds of up to 28mph (45km/h). The two Arma shuttles have no steering wheel or pedals, run on a battery, are 100% electric and boast a technologically advanced navigation and sensor system. The service in Lyon’s new Confluence urban development includes five stops, two termini and three intermediate stops that serve different buildings in the district; it covers approximately one mile. The area traversed by the vehicles is free of traffic lights, crosswalks and intersections, and the journey takes about 13 minutes. An operator is on board at all times to ensure the safety of passengers and answer questions.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Navya here at APTA to introduce this new and innovative transportation solution to our clients in the USA and Canada,” said Keolis North America’s CEO, Clement Michel. “The Navya vehicle is safe, convenient and sustainable, and will provide public authorities with an exciting and intelligent new option to meet the growing demand for urban mobility solutions.”

Part of Keolis’ North American division, Keolis Transit America, has also announced that it has been awarded a five-year US$5.7m contract by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to provide technical support for the CityRide Paratransit Service, including managing the program’s database and administering the electronic transit fare card system. The Los Angeles County paratransit program is a curb-to-curb ride service that utilizes a fleet of buses, mini-vans and taxis to transport ADA-eligible (Americans with Disabilities Act) individuals, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Under the contract, Keolis will provide a variety of services including the implementation of enhanced electronic technology that will seamlessly connect the current fare card system with that of CityRide participants. The company will also provide services to support the determination of membership eligibility, the sale and distribution of fare cards, database program management, and security, including geo-coding, encryption, archiving and scanning, the re-registration of all CityRide members, customer satisfaction surveys and customer service, as well as administrative and accounting support.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).