Keolis Canada, Navya and Urbis to start Quebec’s first autonomous shuttle pilot project


After demonstrating the Navya autonomous electric shuttle at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Montreal, transit operator Keolis Canada, in collaboration with Navya and the Urbis transit agency, announced a plan to implement Quebec’s first self-driving pilot project.

The three partners revealed that a one-year pilot project may soon be undertaken in the regional county municipality (RCM) of Les Moulins to complement area’s existing transportation network. Steps are being taken with the appropriate Quebec authorities to accelerate implementation of the initiative, which will see shuttles added to the initial and final stages of an existing route, helping to solve the ‘first mile/last mile’ conundrum. The Quebec trial would strongly resemble the NAVLY project being tested this year in the Confluence eco-district of Lyon, France, where the Keolis Group and Navya jointly launched the world’s first autonomous electric shuttle service in September last year.

The two Canadian transit organizations are hoping that Navya’s autonomous electric ARMA shuttle will offer their customers a flexible solution, providing a brand new means of transport for Les Moulins’ citizens and complementing their existing driver-operated services, while also meeting their aims of protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With a capacity of 15 passengers and operating at a speed of approximately 15mph (25km/h), the autonomous electric shuttle has been designed and developed to improve the performance of transport organizations by streamlining the flow of movement along the initial and final stages of a route.

“The enthusiasm being shown for this autonomous electric shuttle project in Canada has greatly surpassed our expectations, and we’re delighted with the results to date,” said Patrick Gilloux, president and chief operating officer of Keolis Canada at the UITP event. “We’ve long believed that electric vehicles represent the future of public transport and have type-trialed a number of them in the Les Moulins RCM region in recent years. The addition of an autonomous electric shuttle as a pilot project to complement this offer, is the next logical step, and we look forward to confirming the details.”

Navya’s CEO, Christophe Sapet, commented, “We are proud to contribute to the development of the new, innovative urban transit model that our transport partners at Keolis Canada and Urbis plan to launch in Quebec. Dynamic districts such as Urbanova in Les Moulins RCM are perfect for the ARMA, as it enables people to travel easily and safely, while reducing both traffic and pollution.”

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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).