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More than 21 500 people transported in autonomous shuttles

One year after the world premiere implementation of “SmartShuttle” on public roads, PostAuto, Bestmile as well as the other partners involved in the project are thrilled by its positive track record.
The numerous people having tested the yellow autonomous shuttles, manufactured by the French company Navya, react positively to this new mode of transport. The shuttles also attracted a considerable interest from the research community, the transportation industry and public authorities.

 

PostAuto is one of the first operators in the world to operate autonomous shuttles for the passenger transportation on public roads. Since June 23rd 2016, both SmartShuttles transported more than 21 500 people through the city center of Sion. True glimpse into the future of mobility, they attracted numerous Swiss and foreign companies, as well as many public institutions – in particular municipalities and associations interested in discovering and testing this technology.

 

The PostAuto shuttles circulated 312 days in one year and traveled more than 4 500 kilometers. On average, they drove at 6 kph, traveling a distance of 1.5 kilometers in a quarter of an hour approximately.

 

The aim of the project is to test how autonomous vehicles can be integrated in the current transportation system and acquire experience for large scale deployments to come. At the same time, the project has a strong focus on travelers’ acceptance of this new mobility service. Some passengers are a little bit sceptical before the departure of the shuttles, however their reaction is very positive after the journey. This evaluation is not age-related: a lot of travelers of more than 55 years are excited  and ask when and where SmartShuttles services will be expanded. People under 20 sit down spontaneously in the vehicle and travel naturally as if it was a traditional Postbus.

 

The lessons learned from the project are constantly assessed and made available to the Swiss Federal Road Office. PostBus, Swiss authorities, Bestmile and all of the project’s partners are thus undertaking pioneering work in the development and use of autonomous vehicles. They are establishing the foundations of a valuable technological know-how in Switzerland which is also generating keen interest abroad. The shuttles have also been presented at exhibitions, such as the CeBIT fair in Hanover, and  have transported more than 20,000 additional passengers on these occasions.

 

The partners want to provide passengers using the autonomous shuttles with added value and thus extend the network within the city of Sion. Currently, the project leaders are working with their partners and the authorities concerned to study the option of extending and changing the route with the aim to incorporate SmartShuttles into the overall mobility chain and enhance the transport network in the last mile. The objective is to make the system more flexible and to use other options to increase the benefits for passengers, for example with an “on demand” function enabled by Bestmile’s platform.

 

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