Come and test the six free driverless shuttles
From April to June, from Monday to Friday, a fleet of six autonomous electric shuttles serve the EPFL campus, from the M1 station to the Innovation Park, via the Rolex Learning Center. The service is free of charge for the users. On board, no driver, but more than 50 students (groom) who will take turns to ensure the security and passenger information.
All cities face air pollution and road congestion issues with the same acuity. Public transport, shared and synchronized, appears as one of the most robust answer. This sharing of vehicles can take various forms, from carpooling to railway, through car sharing, taxi, bus, tram or subway. Well synchronized with intelligent computer applications, the new network offers a new agility to users and new reasons to abandon the private car.
CityMobil2 European project
Since September 2012, EPFL participates in the European project of research and development CityMobil2, which aims to develop autonomous transport systems in different European urban environments. This project has entered a new phase in November 2014 with the organization of a demonstration of 4 months from April 14 2015.
The last mile
This project aims to solve a specific aspect of this new network: the first and last mile. This is indeed the weakest link in the system, which often discourages people to use public transport, on departure or at destination. It is in this niche that driverless shuttles manufacturers hope to find their market: university campuses, airports, hospitals, meeting areas, sustainable neighborhoods, etc.
The vehicles are supplied by the French company EasyMile after a joint venture between the manufacturer Ligier and the robotics company Robosoft. The operation of the fleet is performed for the first time using the monitoring and control software of BestMile.
Demonstration in April
The six minibuses have been designed and built in 2014 by Ligier and they run for the first time on the EPFL campus in the month of April. The route is marked on the ground, traffic lights resolve the delicate passages and grooms are on board to ensure the smooth running of the demonstration. They are also responsible for conducting user surveys.
BestMile as operator
Leader of this demonstration, BestMile, an EPFL startup managed by two former EPFL students, Raphaël Gindrat and Anne Koymans, ensures on one hand the perfect daily operation of the system and, on the other hand, tests its fleet management software from a control center.
See you on board for your first impressions!