The French capital has opened its first autonomous bus shuttle service to the public. Since Monday (23 January), two fully electric, driverless shuttles are being tested in a dedicated lane on Charles de Gaulle bridge. The experiment will be ongoing until 7 April 2017.
The two EZ10 shuttles, made by French firm Easymile, use laser sensors to analyse the surroundings, and for the moment will have their own dedicated lane on Charles de Gaule bridge. These buses have a seating capacity of six passengers and will travel with an operative on board to oversee each trip.
During the experiment period, passengers crossing the bridge between Austerlitz and Gare de Lyon train stations will be able to travel more conveniently and for free. The electric shuttles will operate seven days a week (from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.) and will be recharged at night.
Public transport company RATP will conduct the experiment and survey passengers about the new service. Information about its performance, reliability, and operating safety will also be collected.
Paris authorities have been trying to crack down carbon emissions by promoting public transport as well as introducing several car bans in the city. The last one, which affects diesel vehicles built between 1997 and 2000, went into effect also on Monday.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo hopes that the experiment with this bus line will give a strong signal to Parisians and tourists, helping to “make Paris the world capital for innovation and energy transition.”
“The advent of driverless technologies now opens new outlooks and will make it possible to give far more space to soft and electric modes of transport”, she said.
The city is already working on a similar connection between Château de Vincennes and the floral park in Vincennes forest.