Navya, the French company specializing in developing innovative, smart and sustainable mobility solutions, has introduced its fully autonomous Arma shuttle to the US market with a vehicle in use at the University of Michigan’s Mcity.
The Navya Arma is a 100% driverless, completely electric autonomous shuttle vehicle that is aiming to revolutionize first- and last-mile transportation. The Arma has become the only European shuttle bus that is fully operational on the roads of Mcity, the simulated city that is managed by the University of Michigan (U-M), where real-world situations can be created in a totally secure environment.
The inauguration of the vehicle at the prestigious testing ground marks the beginning of a partnership between Navya and the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC). The main objectives of the partnership are to identify areas of joint R&D opportunities with the goal of advancing technologies linked to autonomous vehicles. Navya is providing MTC with the Arma shuttle and all the services that go with it, including maintenance and supervision, while the MTC is giving Navya access to its R&D department and Mcity demonstration platform.
Launched in 2015 by the U-M, Mcity is a US$10m project that is located on the university’s North Campus and is made up of a network of streets and roads, mobile building facades, bridges, reduced speed zones, and even dual carriageways, specifically designed for testing connected, automated and autonomous cars. The facility is considered to be a first-class choice for Navya, which is expecting to supply local authorities and private sites in the USA with its smart mobility system.
Navya and the MTC are also planning to organize several demonstrations in different cities throughout the USA. First on the agenda for the partnership is the 2017 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January. Considered to be the largest high tech event in the world, the Navya-MTC vehicle will be on show, and visitors will be able to experience the Arma autonomous vehicle on the event’s demonstration circuit.
The driverless electric shuttle can transport up to 15 people and is now operating on several different private sites and public roads around the world. The vehicle is equipped with numerous sensors and an onboard computing system that enables it to interact with its surroundings. It can reach speeds of 28mph (45km/h), however taking into account the nature of the sites it often serves, this is often limited to 15.5mph (25km/h).
“This is a landmark day for Navya,” commented Navya’s CEO, Christophe Sapet. “While we have had great success deploying our systems all over the world, this represents the first Arma vehicle operating full-time in North America, a key market for us. Mcity is the perfect partner, and Michigan a great place to deploy the first Navya Arma in the USA where we expect expansion to be broad and decisive in the coming months.”