The Importance of EU-Funded Projects
March 9, 2021 | Company Blog
Bestmile history is closely intertwined with the European Union’s exploration of the benefits of shared, electric, automated mobility. In 2010, the European Union (EU) launched the City Automated Transport System (CATS) project to evaluate driverless electric vehicles’ feasibility in European cities. Its 2014 demonstrations of autonomous shuttles on the campus of the national technical university (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, led to the creation of Bestmile.
As one of the first experimentation on autonomous mobility services, the CATS project brought to light a fundamental missing link in autonomous mobility. The industry was taking a vehicle-centric approach and only focused on the development of reliable autonomous vehicles. However, the autonomous vehicle alone is not a service, nor does it consider the existing transportation ecosystem. The economic, social, and environmental benefits of autonomous vehicles can be most fully realized when vehicles are integrated into a coherent and coordinated urban mobility system, together with the existing transportation modes and city infrastructure. The co-founders of Bestmile launched the company to address this need and developed the first technology enabling mobility providers to deploy and operate autonomous vehicles within a transportation service.
More than 1600 passengers used the CATS autonomous shuttle service, and the public’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Bestmile and the EU have been working together to advance sustainable transportation ever since.
In 2015, Bestmile supported EU’s CityMobil2 project. CityMobil2 increased complexity as the vehicles were operating in mixed traffic on public streets with cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and stoplights. Both fixed-route and on-demand services were tested. More than 6000 passengers rode on the fixed-route service, and 1000 used the on-demand service using Bestmile’s newly minted Traveler App to request pickups. This project anchored the positioning of Bestmile in the industry and set the stage for its commercial expansion.
Today EU-funded projects remain an integral component of Bestmile’s strategy. It is increasingly clear that the only way to address society’s evolving transportation challenges and needs is with smarter, ultimately shared, electric and automated fleets capable of efficiently moving people and goods 24/7 while being fully integrated within the broader transportation ecosystem. However, the path to sustainable transportation is still being made. Many challenges and questions have yet to be addressed to ensure the progressive adoption of new mobility technologies and services.
EU-funded projects bring together key stakeholders and enable them to collaborate to find a practical path towards sustainable mobility. Moreover, they empower the transportation industry to experiment with new technologies and business models they would otherwise not consider.
Below is a selection of some of the EU-funded projects Bestmile is currently contributing to:
EU’s 2018 Autonomous Vehicles to Evolve to a New Urban Experience (AVENUE) is an ambitious four-year, €22M project to design and deliver full-scale demonstrations of on-demand autonomous mobility services in seven cities.
The project is led by the University of Geneva and features 16 partners, including academic institutions, public transport operators, autonomous vehicle manufacturers, major technology R&D companies, and specialized start-ups. Its goal is to “pave the way for the full-scale introduction of disruptive door-to-door services and ‘mobility cloud’ strategies in urban transportation.”
The project shows how new mobility services can work with existing transit systems, helping operators make transportation more efficient and sustainable while growing ridership and improving the quality of life in metropolitan areas.
Bestmile was selected to provide its unique fleet orchestration technology to plan, launch and operate the project’s highly efficient demand-responsive transportation services with autonomous vehicles.
EU’s Shared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption (SHOW) project aims to demonstrate shared, connected, electric autonomous fleet services in 20 cities across Europe. With 69 partner organizations from Europe, the United States, South Korea, Australia, and China, SHOW is the largest and most comprehensive urban pilot of automated mobility.
Bestmile Fleet Orchestration Platform will be leveraged to operate the DRT fleet of the Turin satellite pilot at a medical campus, integrating data flow management with the campus IT system.
Additionally, Bestmile is contributing to the development of a common conceptual system architecture framework enabling the deployment of shared, connected, electrified fleets of automated vehicles in coordinated transportation services, integrating with existing local transportation systems, managing the data repositories, and proposing the required interfaces for the service supervision and management.
The project is a European initiative led by EIT Digital, the European Institute of Technology Digital, that aims to develop a Last-Mile Automated Delivery (LMAD) solution using autonomous robots. It aims to make deliveries faster and more cost-effective while increasing customer satisfaction.
In addition to Bestmile, partners involved in the LMAD project include GIM Robotics, BookIT, Picom, and Futurice. The newly created LMAD startup will integrate partners technologies to seamlessly support new logistics business models such as fast, efficient delivery in gated areas or parcel deliveries in business campuses using LMAD solution.
Bestmile has been selected as a partner to provide its Orchestration Platform to plan, manage, and optimize the autonomous delivery fleet’s efficiency and performance. The project reinforces Bestmile’s unprecedented and proven ability to manage vehicles of any brand or type—autonomous or human-driven—to deliver any type of service with ultra-efficient, highly orchestrated dispatching, routing, and task matching to ensure that the right vehicle gets to the right place at the right time.