Groupe ADP launches the first trial of autonomous shuttles at a French airport

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Groupe ADP Navya

FRANCE: Groupe ADP has just launched a trial of two fully electric, driverless shuttles – the first at a French airport. Located in the heart of the airport's business district, Roissypôle, they connect the suburban train station (RER) to the Environmental and Sustainable Development Resource Centre and Groupe ADP's headquarters.

Keolis, the operator, has joined forces with Navya, the French autonomous shuttle designer, to carry out the pilot project until July 2018. This initial trial represents an important milestone in Groupe ADP’s strategy to become a key player in the autonomous vehicle ecosystem. The aim of the pilot is to test how the automated vehicles will behave on a high-traffic roadway, as well as how they merge and pass within an extremely dense environment that includes many pedestrians.

An intelligent road infrastructure system that uses traffic signals to communicate dynamically with the shuttles has been set up in order to optimise the crossing of the road in complete safety. Feedback from users (employees and passengers) is also one of the trial's determining factors.

According to Groupe ADP, the new autonomous mobility solutions are a strategic concern for the development and competitiveness for airports, as they help enhance service quality and the reliability of the various transportation modes used, in addition to improving road network flow around major hubs. This initial step will allow Groupe ADP to subsequently roll out this technology on other sites and with other applications, within a multifaceted area like the airport city.

“Autonomous transport services will play a key role in our aim to create a new generation of connected airports. With this first trial, Groupe ADP is paving the way for developing this technology within our airport networks in France and abroad. In these constrained environments, autonomous technology is a lever for optimizing infrastructures for of a new mobility offer. Our airports' mobility needs are quite considerable – between the various terminals, car parks and departure areas, or even airside – and could lead us to develop an autonomous vehicle fleet in the future. Within the framework of our Innovation Hub programme, the future of mobility is being built in the heart of the airport city", stated Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP.

The two shuttles, accessible to persons with reduced mobility, can carry up to 11 seated and 4 standing passengers. Each can reach 25 km/h on a 700-metre-long track. The service operates from 07:30 am to 08:00 pm and is free. An on-demand shuttle service is available by scanning a QR code with a smartphone.

“Keolis and the ADP Group have been working closely for several years now in order to develop mobility services adapted to the airport zones of the Paris region. Keolis is proud to be supporting the ADP Group in their new autonomous vehicle trial, which enhances the range of services that we already provide them with, including the management of the Roissypôle bus station, the shuttle buses for Orly Airport, as well as our partnership with Le Bus Direct, a premium coach service between Paris and Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports. This is Keolis’ second autonomous shuttle project in the Greater Paris region, following the launch of a first trial in Paris’ La Defense business district in July 2017, with the local transport authority, Ile-de-France Mobilités,”said Youenn Dupuis, Keolis’ Deputy CEO for Greater Paris region.

"NAVYA is delighted to be marking out the airport of the future together with Groupe ADP and Keolis. The airport of the future is based on smart and specially adapted mobility solutions that are able to communicate with the infrastructure that we have set up at Roissypôle with Groupe ADP. Airports are areas where the traffic is extremely concentrated and so it is really important to manage and optimise the flow. The aim of this trial is from now on, to provide a service that takes into account future deployments," states NAVYA CEO Christophe Sapet.