In partnership with NAVYA, the Belgian ministry of mobility, the Vias institute and the Domaine of Han, Keolis will have its electric shuttle circulating on a 500m road transporting visitors from the parking to the box office of the Caves of Han. Interacting with pedestrians and other vehicles, the autonomous shuttle detects other users and obstacles using Lidar cameras and sensors and also communicates through information screens at the front and rear of the vehicle.
The objective of this test is to study the reactions of passengers and road users to eventually improve the technology and to ensure that it fits seamlessly and safely into everyday life before being put into place at other tourist locations. Such shuttles are ideally suited to campuses, amusement parks and to transport people from the parking of a hospital to its entrance. They can also increase the mobility of seniors or people with reduced mobility since they can also accommodate people traveling in wheelchairs. In the near future the shuttle could run to the entrance of the caves, on a path over 1,5km.
As with any new technology, there are a number of obstacles that still need to be overcome, particularly in terms of technology (intense rain, fog and snow can obscure the shuttle's Lidar sensors) and public infrastructure (autonomous shuttles must be able to detect signs and traffic strips everywhere). It is also important to know how much people are willing to trust an autonomous vehicle and whether they will use it. Nevertheless autonomous vehicles make it possible to partially solve the problems of congestion in Belgium and to improve road safety and mobility.
Keolis, a pioneer in shared autonomous mobilityA pioneer in shared autonomous mobility, Keolis already conducts numerous trials with its partner NAVYA in France and around the world. This latest trial is the Group’s seventh autonomous project*. In recent years, communities have shown a growing interest in this mobility solution. This curiosity has allowed pilot projects to proliferate and thus prove the viability of this technology in (re)designing everyday mobility, both today and tomorrow.
Since the launch of the service in Lyon in France in September 2016 - which was the first autonomous shuttle transport service in the world – Keolis and NAVYA have increased the number of trials.
In July 2018, the Group recorded 40,000km travelled and 110,000 passengers transported by autonomous shuttles, both in France and abroad.