Arrival of autonomous shuttles on the ArianeGroup site in 2021

Starting in March 2021, Vedecom, ArianeGroup, Transdev Autonomous Transportation System and EasyMile will experiment with driverless autonomous shuttles on the Les Mureaux industrial site.

Autonomous shuttles by EasyMile & Transdev

Two EasyMile autonomous shuttles will soon be operating on the ArianeGroup site at Les Mureaux in the Yvelines region. This mobility project is scheduled to begin in March 2021 for deployment in 2022.

The Vedecom institute will be looking into the sensors needed to equip the infrastructure to ensure traffic flow, while Transdev will provide remote supervision of the autonomous shuttles. This experimentation should lead to the implementation of a transport service with driverless autonomous shuttles. This project was validated by the Departmental Council in November 2020, bringing together various players: the Vedecom Institute, ArianeGroup, Transdev and EasyMile.

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4 experiments prior to the deployment of autonomous shuttles in an urban environment

2 needs analyses with aiming to assess the feasibility of setting up this autonomous mobility service within an urban and peri-urban area. The routes analyzed in this study will only be the routes from the Campus des Mureaux to the Mureaux train station and from the Verneuil Clairières train station to the ArianeGroup site.

The main use case is the installation of an autonomous shuttle on the ArianeGroup industrial site. This experiment is scheduled to last three years, beginning in March 2021, before becoming fully operational in 2022.

From this date, the goal is to no longer have a driver on board the two self-contained shuttles provided by EastMile. Finally, as a final experiment, these two autonomous, driverless shuttles will be tested, during a given project, on a final 2-kilometer route linking the Gare des Mureaux station to the ArianeGroup

Autonomous shuttles test in France

The ArianeGroup's site, a good experimentation ground

This site was selected by the stakeholders because it is representative of a conurbation with “a lot of private vehicles on the road”, says Gabriel Werlen, Vedecom’s project manager. These shuttles will be confronted with daily “dangers” such as pedestrians, intersections, traffic circles and parked vehicles, allowing the deployment of this autonomous driving technology in an urban environment.

Gabriel Werlen even adds: “Over time, the objective is to analyze how these shuttles work and whether they are accepted. For this project as a whole, the stakeholders are focusing on 5 areas of research and development:

  • Remote supervision of an autonomous shuttle with no operator on board
  • Reliability of the mobility system
  • Cybersecurity
  • Intelligent Connected Infrastructures
  • Acceptability of the ecosystem

A connected infrastructure

Co-founder of EasyMile, Gilbert Gagnaire, mentions it: “the safety and fluidity aspects are linked”, “the real complexity is to anticipate the trajectory of the other vehicles”. This is why, as far as the infrastructure is concerned, the objective is to make the traffic flow as smoothly as possible by equipping the traffic circle located on the test site with sensors, for example. For this purpose, a preliminary study will be held in order to identify the most relevant sensors to equip the infrastructure.

Transdev's role

Transdev will take care of the remote supervision in order to carry out the project. Transdev’s Director of Autonomous Transportation Systems, Patricia Villoslada, described “three core functions”:

  • Sending to the vehicle the necessary information on when and where it should travel to
  • Monitoring of the system status and shutdown if not all in working order
  • Interaction with passengers.

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