Our CEO and CMO visit autonomous project in Paris

After a PCR test, a police check at the French border and with the correct travel documents, the CEO and CMO of Keolis Belgium arrived in Paris for a visit to an autonomous project. The Keolis Group is carrying out this project in Île-de-France for the public transport authority Paris IDF Mobilité. The 24-month contract includes three autonomous vehicles from Navya. At peak times, two shuttles connect the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines-Montigny-le-Bretonneux train station with the local business parks. The office zone is comparable to that in Woluwe or Zaventem.

Autonomous vehicles?

Keolis has expertise in autonomous vehicles and deploys them in many places around the world.

Autonome voertuigen in het verkeer

Passengers can rely on a shuttle every 8 minutes. Outside peak hours, one vehicle travels on the 1.6 km stretch. Each vehicle runs for 5 hours at a time, but can theoretically go for up to 8 hours without recharging. The buses reach a speed of 20 km/h. For this project, a new garage was built where the vehicles are maintained and charged. Easily accessible stops were built along the road with an elevation for getting on or off the train with a wheelchair.

The project is very instructive for the local transport authorities and Keolis alike. Our CEO discovered many new things. He learned, for example, how red lights are coordinated with the vehicles, how vehicles drive on roundabouts and how exactly the vehicles deal with parked cars. Currently, 10% of decisions are still made by humans while the vehicles are driving in traffic . This is the case, for example, when lorries load and unload, blocking the roadway.

The latest progress makes such a project also interesting for us. Autonomous vehicles may already be integrated into traffic in cities, a business complex or on a private site.

CEO Stefan De Prycker is convinced of this form of transport: "We expect more possibilities when the autonomous bus is allowed to drive truly autonomously without a driver on board within a few years. The driver is not replaced, but is given a different function, that of 'supervisor'. The supervisor will observe some vehicles from a distance in a control tower."

CMO Emily Coenegrachts was also positively surprised: "The vehicles are used on shuttle services, where they drive at low speed. This is an addition to the existing public transport timetable. This last mile solution should motivate people to leave their car at home. Because let's be honest...when it's raining, when you’re carrying a heavy bag or when you’re less mobile, those last 500 metres are far more pleasant in a vehicle than on foot!”

Autonomous vehicle Paris