European project CATS

bestmilePress release

World premiere : Bestmile tests a public transport system composed of autonomous vehicles on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s campus, in Lausanne (EPFL).

The EPFL campus hosts from the 7th to 31st July 2014 the public experimental phase of the CATS project. This project, co-financed by the European Commission to the amount of about 3 million euros, was launched in January 2010 for a period of 5 years. It is coordinated by the town planning office from Lausanne GEA Vallotton et Chanard and reunites scientific and institutional partners, among which the EPFL.

After a first phase of technical tests carried out in Strasbourg, the project settles on the EPFL’s campus. Three vehicles will navigate during four weeks and link the Rolex Learning Centre to the EPFL Innovation Park. They will stop at the Starling Hotel and students’ home « Les Estudiantines ».

This demonstration marks an important additional step in the deployment of innovating transport systems. It differentiates itself from previous experiments, notably realized in La Rochelle in 2010, by the fact that the vehicles are managed as a public transport fleet. Moreover, the route comprises both pedestrian areas and roads open to public traffic. The vehicles therefore don’t evolve in a closed environment. Finally, the exploitation of the three vehicles does not require any guidance infrastructure or road markings. Each vehicle measures the distance separating it from the buildings in order to localize itself with precision.

Bestmile then becomes the first fleet manager in the world to operate an automated transport system. Its expertise in the domain of transport planification assures a reliable exploitation according to a predefined timetable.

The first life-size test is undertaken using three Navya shuttles. The vehicle has been presented in January at the Las Vegas CES by the Induct company, who then commercialized it under the name Navia. It thus obtained an important mediatic success and notably received the « product of the future » prize.

A second demonstration, lasting 6 months and using other automated vehicles, will start on the EPFL campus in Novembre 2014 as part of a second European project entitled CityMobil2. Bestmile will once again be in charge of managing the fleet of shuttles.

In parallel, Bestmile wishes to move in the United States in the near future, as well as in Singapour, with the aim of actively participating in different projects and tests linked to the domain of driverless vehicles. The organization of a financial round table and the recruitment of IT specialists are two crucial steps to accompany this international expansion.