Two autonomous vehicles were introduced for the first time to the press by Bestmile, Navya and PostBus. It marks the first milestone for the two-year collaboration taking place in the city of Sion aiming to integrate a fleet of autonomous shuttles into public transportation systems.
After the announcement of Bestmile’s first commercial contract with PostBus last November, the two partners gathered, along with the manufacturer Navya, the city of Sion and the canton of Valais, in Place de la Planta in Sion, to formally present the project to the press.
During the event, all the partners and the media had the opportunity to see Bestmile’s product in action. They were able to experience both the fleet management platform and the smartphone applications developed by Bestmile.
The fleet management platform allows the operator, PostBus, to have a real-time overview and control over its fleet. The smartphone applications, are passenger-oriented and display the localization of the shuttles, the remaining time and enable the user to order a vehicle, among other features.
For the CEO of Bestmile, Raphaël Gindrat, this first commercial partnership with PostBus confirms that the strategic placement and the technology of the company answer to a real societal need. It’s essential for the entire industry to have dynamic and modern leaders like PostBus who capture the essence of mobility challenges and dedicate themselves to finding sustainable solutions.
Driverless shuttles running in the city by spring 2016
During the early stage of the project, specialists will put the shuttles to the test in a private area near the city. Since it’s a first in Switzerland, authorities will need to review the data collected and give special authorizations in order to move forward.
Once the authorities deliver the proper authorizations, you’ll be able to witness driverless shuttles blossom in the streets of Sion by spring of 2016. The shuttles, operated by PostBus and managed using the technology provided by Bestmile, will be able to transport people in pedestrian and touristic areas in the center of the town. The beautiful capital of Valais will be the first European city with autonomous transport services on public roads.
The future of mobility
Bestmile’s software aims to help transport companies create new mobility systems, which are intelligent and environmentally friendly, so that urban areas become more enjoyable and practical, and safer for everyone.
The public transport sector is on the verge of a revolution. Most cities have reached their saturation point in terms of traffic and pollution. In addition, indefinitely increasing the number of traditional transport vehicles is not possible without consequently raising the operation costs which would in turn affect the price paid by the users. It is a necessity to change the way we move in cities. Most of the large capitals all around the world are now looking for an economic and sustainable solution that fits into the public transport scheme. The two-year project in Sion will provide essential insights into the reality and the challenges of integrating an autonomous fleet of vehicles into urban areas.