On September 24, the Smart City Wallonia exposition demonstrated an autonomous vehicle fleet comprised of two different vehicle brands. The demonstration was hailed as a “world’s first” by the organizers and was enabled by Bestmile’s Fleet Orchestration Platform. This test, organized by Vias Institute, in collaboration with the SPF Mobility and Transport, was conducted in the presence of Minister of Mobility François Bellot.
Bestmile’s vision from the start has been to enable mobility providers to use different vehicle brands and types. But vehicle manufacturers and autonomous technology companies were all focused on their own systems, not on how they might work together.
That’s why Bestmile has developed a first-of-its-kind “vehicle agnostic” fleet orchestration platform, which was used in the Wallonia demonstration. The platform enables vehicles, autonomous or human-driven, from any manufacturer, to work together as intelligent fleets capable of delivering coordinated mobility services.
Why is the Smart City Wallonia demonstration so important? This news clip (in French) from the exposition explains.
Service providers want choice and flexibility, Luc Texier of Bestmile pointed out. Different vehicles will have different uses. “The promise of autonomous mobility is to have variety–big buses in the morning, shuttles on demand in the evening and perhaps super fun vehicles, like rolling night clubs in autonomous shuttles on weekends,” he said in the video.
In the long-term, there will be large, disparate fleets—much like today’s air traffic. “These fleets will ultimately have many brands and models working together. You may have hundreds or thousands of vehicles that must be orchestrated as intelligently as possible, similar to what’s going in the aviation every second above our heads,” Luc said.
That’s why the organizers of Smart City Wallonia refer to the Bestmile platform as the “control tower” for the fleet.