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Groupe ADP Trials Driverless Buses at Charles de Gaulle Airport

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【Summary】The business, a leading operator of 34 international airports, recently launched a driverless bus trial at Charles de Gaulle Airport, which consists of two autonomous shuttles provided by Keolis and NAVYA.

Michael Cheng    Apr 15, 2018 2:00 PM PT
Groupe ADP Trials Driverless Buses at Charles de Gaulle Airport
author: Michael Cheng   

Groupe ADP, leading operator of 34 international airports including Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport and Le Bourget Airport, is keen on rolling out autonomous mobility services.

The business recently launched a driverless bus trial at Charles de Gaulle Airport, which consists of two autonomous shuttles provided by Keolis and NAVYA. Trials will be ongoing until July 2018, offering free rides to passengers with limited mobility during the event.

Mobility Services in Commercial Aviation

The first-ever trial using all-electric autonomous buses at the busy airport is a major milestone for Groupe ADP. Both shuttles are currently taking on routes from the business district of the airport to the Environmental and Sustainable Development Resource Center, as well as Groupe ADP's headquarters. The units are capable of carrying up to 15 people – 11 seated and four standing. Individuals can access the on-demand shuttle service via a QR code.

"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," explained NAVYA CEO Christophe Sapet.

Keolis and NAVYA were likely chosen due to their experience in testing driverless buses. The latter startup is widely known for deploying autonomous shuttles in Las Vegas, which was a very successful project that received positive feedback from other businesses in the space.

The Groupe ADP trial is Keolis' second project involving autonomous shuttles in the local area. Last year, the company partnered with transport authority Ile-de-France Mobilités. Together, the duo participated in a trial at Paris' La Defense business district. When it comes to safety, Keolis has a reliable track record consisting of 90,000+ passengers transported over a two-year period. 

Smart Road System

The self-driving shuttles are guided by a smart road system. Cutting-edge traffic signaling devices communicate with the buses in real-time, as they make their way to their destination. During operation, the shuttles can reach a top speed of 15.5 mph (25 kph). The service is available between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm.

"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 a new mobility offer," said Edward Arkwright, deputy CEO of Groupe ADP.

Researchers will keep a close eye on the self-driving units, ensuring the safe transport of passengers during testing. The focus of the trial includes the buses' ability to cope with high-traffic encounters on roads. In such situations, basic driving maneuvers, e.g., merging and turning, can become increasingly complicated with the presence of pedestrians and fast-moving vehicles.

The company will rely on feedback from passengers and workers to hone their strategy for development. Groupe ADP aims to use the technology to support its existing shuttle fleet. Automating common routes, between terminals, car parking stations and departure hubs, can boost efficiency at the airport and reduce daily operating costs.

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