On 4 October Keolis announced a second trial of its fully electric autonomous shuttle in Belgium, this time in Braine-l'Alleud (Waterloo), near Brussels. This follows the successful launch in Belgium of the first autonomous shuttle in early September. Keolis conducted this new trial in partnership with NAVYA, a French company which specialises in the design and construction of autonomous and electric vehicles, the Belgian ministry of mobility, the Vias institute (the Belgium Road Safety Institute) and Baloise Insurance.
The NAVYA autonomous electric shuttle will operate in normal traffic conditions on a 2.4-km route in the tourist area of Waterloo, a place famous for the battle that took place two centuries ago between the French, British, Dutch and German armies and which attracts over 500,000 visitors every year. The shuttle transports visitors between Lion’s Mound, the Waterloo museum and the Château d'Hougoumont farmhouse.
The autonomous electric shuttle is an ideal mobility solution for university campuses, amusement parks and hospitals. The shuttle is best used to provide a last-mile connection solution to complete journeys on existing public transport networks.
The NAVYA autonomous electric shuttle can accommodate up to 15 passengers, including those with reduced mobility (it has a dedicated area for wheelchairs). It features Lidar sensors, a GPS RTK system, an odometric system, a V2X connection and cameras, so the vehicle can detect other vehicles and pedestrians and run on open roads. The trial aims to study the reactions of passengers and road users so as to improve the technology and ensure that it fits safely and seamlessly into day-to-day life in the city, before being implemented at other tourist locations.