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Lohr Group recently announced that it’s innovative, coupled (two cars with 16 passengers max each) Cristal vehicles will be used in a trial project by Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS) in Strasbourg, France. The trial of the human-driven electric shuttles will take place from December 3 to 21.


The service will be managed by the Bestmile Mobility Services Platform, which is unique in its ability to manage vehicles of any brand, human-driven and/or autonomous. This trial comes on the heels of the two companies’ partnership announcement in October, which promised a trial project before the end of the calendar year.


“Lohr is pioneering new mobility services by introducing optimized human-driven services as a precursor to autonomous services,” said Raphaël Gindrat, cofounder and CEO of Bestmile. “This project shows how the Bestmile platform can serve as a bridge between the two services by managing both types of vehicles, separately or combined.”


Passengers can use the Cristal vehicles as they would any other bus in the CTS fleet. The Lohr vehicles can support up to four cars in a coupled configuration. The i-Cristal, an autonomous version of the vehicle, was introduced in September but is not yet operating on public streets.


“In this partnership, we set out to show the world how we can deliver the transit services of the future, today,” said Jean-François Argence, New Mobilities Director of Lohr Group. “Bestmile is an ideal partner because its platform will allow us to smoothly transition from human-driven to autonomous vehicles and services in the future.”


The trial aims to test the full potential of the Cristal for energy savings, maneuverability, safety and comfort for passengers and commercial drivers. The trial project will replace conventional buses on Line 10 in Strasbourg, though the long-term deployment of vehicles is expected to take place on lower density routes where larger, noisier, higher emission vehicles are not as efficient.


Lohr Cristal electric shuttles seat five people including a driver and can reach speeds up to 70 km/hour and operate for a full day on a single charge. The vehicle can also operate as a larger shuttle by coupling additional vehicles with the primary vehicle, accommodating up to 82 standing passengers in four cabins at speeds up to 40 km/hour.


Supporting human-driven as well as autonomous vehicles is important for operators, making it possible to mix vehicle fleets and test customer acceptance of new mobility solutions. The Bestmile platform’s Core Engine gives service providers real-time ride matching, service planning, and back-office management to quickly and easily launch tailored mobility services. In addition to the Core Engine, the service also uses Bestmile’s traveler mobile app and operator dashboard to provide CTS with an end-to-end solution.


Bestmile offers the only platform of its kind that can support vehicles of any brand or type, human-driven or autonomous, for fixed-route and on-demand services. Already managing autonomous fleets on three continents, the Bestmile platform enables service providers to plan, deploy, and optimize fleets to deliver the next-generation mobility services that the world wants.


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