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A successful first year for a world-first, conducted by Keolis and Navya

More than a year since its launch in the eco-friendly district of Confluence in Lyon, France, the NAVLY trial using autonomous electric vehicles, has been deemed a resounding success. More than a year after it first started operating, Keolis and Navya have announced that they will continue rolling-out this innovative mode of public transport, which meets the challenges of future mobility.

Two shuttles in service for more than a year, in the heart of Lyon 

On 2 September 2016 in Lyon, Keolis and Navya (http://navya.tech), a company  specialised in the development of autonomous mobility solutions, launched a world-first: the trial on open road of a public transport service using driverless, autonomous, electric vehicles. Known as NAVLY, this free service is open to all and allows passengers to travel along a 1,350m circuit in the heart of the Confluence eco-friendly district. This district, in the southern part of the Lyon peninsula, is home to many companies, shops, as well as cultural and leisure facilities. Two shuttles operate in rotation every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day, from Monday to Saturday. 13 months after its launch, NAVLY, which has transported 22,000 passengers, has fitted perfectly into its urban environment as well as the broader public transport network of Lyon (http://www.tcl.fr), thanks to its connection with the T1 tram line. 
 

Who does what?

  • NAVLY is the operating company created specifically for this trial by Navya and Keolis
  • Navya brings its expertise and know-how by supplying the NAVYA autonomous vehicles, and supervises their functioning and maintenance
  • Keolis, operator of Lyon’s public transport network, TCL, is responsible for the operation of the transport service and the management of personnel
     

Success across the board

Approved at a national level by the French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, this trial was led with the active support of the city council, Métropole de Lyon, the local transport authority, Sytral, and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME, and has demonstrated the reliability of this new mode of transport, and generated a positive response from the public regarding driverless vehicles. On a technical level, the results of the trial have also been very encouraging. There has been no major incident on the service since September 2016, throughout the 14,000km travelled by the vehicles. 
The length of the trial (extended until end of December 2017) has also allowed the service to be gradually improved to provide passengers with a more efficient, smooth and comfortable travel experience, thanks to the ‘intelligence’ of the shuttles. Indeed, the vehicles have the ability to learn which allows them to improve their navigation skills the more they travel, as they increase their knowledge of the surrounding environment.  
 

NAVLY, a ‘2nd season’ rich in innovation

A request to continue the NAVLY trial until the end of 2018 has been submitted to the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The objective of this second phase is to continue demonstrating the reliability of the system, improving the service and increasing its patronage among employees in the district. As part of this objective, a mobile app is now available on Apple Store and Google Play, to provide passenger information that simplifies use of the shuttle. 
New functions and technologies will be introduced to optimise passenger comfort and operations (new heating system, bypassing of fixed objects, improvements to sensors, communication between the vehicles and surrounding infrastructure, autonomous synchronisation of vehicles leaving the terminus, etc.).  
 

Keolis, pioneer of future urban mobility  

More than 70 delegations, 70% from abroad, have visited Lyon to experience first-hand NAVLY’s operations and integration into the broader public transport network (http://www.tcl.fr). 

This strong interest by industry stakeholders has given rise to other trials such as the one led by Keolis since July 2017 in La Défense, Paris, in partnership with Ile-de-France Mobilités.  Around 10 other projects are also being studied, confirming the potential of this new mode of environmentally friendly and flexible transport, which contributes to the reduction of traffic congestion and pollution. Providing a real solution for the first and last mile of a journey in urban areas, it’s also adapted to ‘closed sites’ such as airports, industrial sites, university campuses, shopping centres and hospitals. By demonstrating its capacity in Lyon to integrate autonomous electric vehicles into its multimodal offer, Keolis confirms its status as a leader in providing mobility solutions that are shared and sustainable, and that meet the needs of ‘Smart Cities’ and their inhabitants. 
 

By cultivating the same vision of shared, connected and electric mobility, Keolis, SYTRAL and the Métropole de Lyon, have once again demonstrated their capacity to innovate with the launch of the NAVLY autonomous shuttle service. It is result of a strong and longstanding partnership.

 

Jean-Pierre Farandou, Keolis Group Executive Chairman

A true showcase for urban mobility, SYTRAL has for several years now, voluntarily led a strategy focused on technological and digital innovation. It’s therefore not a coincidence that Lyon was chosen to conduct the trial of this new public transport solution which complements the existing services offer and provides a solution for the first and last mile. We are very pleased and excited to be part of this world-first on our network.

 

Fouziza Bouzerda, President of SYTRAL
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