Keolis accelerates its development in autonomous mobility with new shuttles launched in France and Australia and an autonomous bus unveiled in Sweden 

18/11/2019
In Rennes (France), Keolis, which already operates two Navya electric autonomous shuttles in the University of Rennes, further pursues its trials with two new shuttles made by EasyMile. On the same occasion, Easymile inaugurates its new-generation shuttle. In Lyon (France), the Group has reached a new milestone in autonomous vehicle deployment with the entry into service of two new Navya automated shuttles fully integrated into traffic, a first in the country. In Newcastle (Australia), Keolis will start to operate autonomous shuttles running on public roads by the end of the year.In Gothenburg (Sweden), in partnership with Volvo, Keolis unveiled a 12-metre long electric bus in its depot.

Rennes, the world’s first entry into service of EasyMile's new-generation shuttle 

Keolis is further developing its trial of electric autonomous shuttles in Rennes with the integration, on 18 November 2019, of two autonomous shuttles made by EasyMile. This marks the beginning of the collaboration between Keolis and EasyMile, as well as the world’s first deployment of the GEN 3 shuttle. Equipped with much more efficient sensors, this new generation of autonomous shuttles will eventually allow for a fully autonomous service, with no operator on-board.  

100% electric, free of charge and accessible to people with reduced mobility, the two EasyMile shuttles run from Monday to Friday, from 7.45am to 6.30pm, every 7 to 15 minutes. The 1.3-km long line, designed to develop intermodality within the university district, is complementary to the Rennes public transport network (bus and metro). They come in addition to the two autonomous Navya shuttles, which have been serving Beaulieu 1 university campus and part of the Rennes public transport network since November 2018. 

Now comprising four vehicles, this fleet allows Keolis to test, for the first time, interoperability between different manufacturers under single supervision. 

These trials, which are part of the “Intelligent Mobilities” project led by the city of Rennes, are funded through EVRA (Experimentation de Véhicule Routier Autonome) as part of the ADEME (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Énergie) call for projects. 

The Rennes trial: key figures

  • Distance of 1.3 km  
  • 4 electric autonomous shuttles (2 Navya, 2 EasyMile) 

Lyon, a new autonomous shuttle service on public roads and integrated into the city’s transport network 

Since 15 November, Keolis Lyon, operator of the Greater Lyon public transport network, SYTRAL, its public transport authority, and Navya have introduced two autonomous shuttles to complete Greater Lyon’s existing transport offer and addresse the challenges of providing last-mile connections. Integrated into the public transport network, the two shuttles provide a direct connection between Décines Grand Large station on the T3 tramway line and Parc OL station (bus line 85), from Monday to Saturday, from 8.30am to 7.30pm (except on match days and special events). 

For the first time in France, the vehicles will run in an urban environment on public roads alongside cars, interacting with road signalling. They will cross four intersections with traffic lights, including a roundabout, over a distance of 1.4 km, a new technical challenge. 

This project is part of the European initiative AVENUE (Autonomous Vehicles to Evolve to New Urban Experience), selected by the European programme HORIZON 2020, with the aim of developing autonomous vehicles in European cities. 

Following the world's first trial of an autonomous electric shuttle, in Lyon’s Confluence district in 2016 (more than 43,000 passengers to date), SYTRAL and Keolis confirm their status as pioneers in new mobility. 

Lyon trial: key figures

  • Distance of 1.4 km
  • 2 new stations served: Décines Grand Large and Parc OL 
  • Maximum speed: 18km/h
  • Autonomy: 7 to 9 hrs
  • Seating capacity: 10
  • 15 min intervals between shuttles during rush hour 

Newcastle, an autonomous shuttle soon to be launched 

By the end of the year, Keolis Downer, Keolis’ Australian subsidiary, will launch an autonomous shuttle service in Newcastle, a city with a population of 360,000 in the north of Sydney. The Navya shuttle will run in road traffic over a distance of 2km.  
Keolis Group thereby strengthens the city’s transport offer, which now includes bus and tram services, autonomous shuttles, river shuttles and on-demand transport services. Operated by Keolis Downer since 2017, this is the first multimodal network in Australia to be entrusted to a private operator. 

Newcastle trial: key figures

  • Distance of 2 km  
  • Seating capacity: 11

Gothenburg, an autonomous electric bus unveiled 

On 12 November 2019, Keolis and Volvo unveiled a 12-metre long electric bus at Keolis' depot in Gothenburg, Sweden. The bus is able to autonomously manoeuvre, drive and park itself when charging or washing is required.  

Using a software developed by Volvo, the bus is controlled and monitored from a control room. The automation of tasks carried out in the depot reduces the time spent by buses at the depot, increasing fleet availability and reducing the size of the depots. It also minimises the risk of collision and optimises safety. 

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The entry into service of those new shuttles reflect the Group's determination to contribute actively to the future of mobility by defining, in collaboration with public transport authorities, 
new mobility solutions to increase local communities’ vitality and attractiveness. 

Since their launch in 2016, the shuttles operated by Keolis on 35 sites have covered more than 75,000 km and carried more than 170,000 passengers.