Keolis deploys electric autonomous shuttles at two university campuses in France

17-12-2018
On 17 December 2018, Keolis launched an electric autonomous shuttle service on the university campus of Lille (Cité Scientifique) at Villeneuve d’Ascq. Globally, it is the fourth city where the Group provides this innovative mode of transport at within a university environment. In Rennes, France, the autonomous shuttles serving the university have been quickly adopted, within three weeks of the start of the operation the services have been used by nearly 3,000 people, a record in usage for this new mode of transport. Keolis is the only public transport operator in France to offer this mobility solution on university campuses. The results of the trials prove the real need for autonomous shuttles on university sites, a service for which Keolis intends to accelerate deployment.

On 17 December 2018, Keolis and the European Metropole of Lille launched an electric autonomous shuttle service at the university of Lille in Villeneuve d'Ascq (110 hectares), with a student population of 20,000 and 1,600 researchers. Worldwide, this is now the fourth autonomous shuttle service in a university zone and the second in France*.

The service at Lille university will employ two NAVYA electric autonomous shuttles for one year and have four dedicated stops on a 1.4 km route, which provides connections to two metro stations. This is the first time in France that autonomous shuttles have operated on open public roads, and shared public space with pedestrians, bicycles and motorised vehicles. It is also the first time for the shuttles to a roundabout without any external assistance (no traffic lights or roadside detectors).

This service is free for all users and is accessible to people with reduced mobility as the shuttle is equipped with ramps. The service will operate throughout the day, Monday to Friday, with greater frequency during peak hours. This trial represents another step forward in th integration of autonomous vehicles into the urban landscape.

Electric autonomous shuttle, an appropriate response to campus travel needs

Encouraged by the results of trials in two universities in Australia (La Trobe in Melbourne, and Flanders in Adelaide) and another one in Rennes in France, where 3,000 passengers travelled onboard the shuttles in the first three weeks of operation, Keolis believes in the strong potential of this market. The Group is firmly convinced by the importance of autonomous shuttles in improving transport services to campuses as it enables people to use a shared mobility service between the university and existing public transport networks (metro, bus routes, park-and-ride facilities). The shuttles are 100% electric, and environmentally friendly, with a positive impact on pollution and noise and provides a good alternative to the private car and a complementary offer to walking, cycling and the scooter.

Since the launch of the first ever shuttle service in Lyon, France, back in September 2016 Keolis has carried out more than 30 trials and demonstrations, driven more than 40,000 kilometres and transported over 120,000 passengers in autonomous shuttles, both in France and internationally.

*The Lille and Rennes projects are among those proposed by the consortium SAM (Sécurité et Acceptabilité de la conduite et de la Mobilité autonome) in its response to ADEME’s call for projects, EVRA (Expérimentation de Véhicules Routiers Autonomes).