EasyMile, French technology company from Toulouse has become the first driverless solutions’ provider in Europe, which is authorized to operate at Level 4 (with no human attendant onboard) in mixed traffic on public roads. EasyMile passed rigorous tests and dry-runs, demonstrating safety and reliability of technology, which allowed authorization to be handed over back in June before the actual implementation of the final regulation focused on circulation of autonomous vehicles on public roads in France.
“This is an important step towards real commercialization of autonomous driving, both on large private sites, as well as on public roads. The applications for our technology to move people and goods continue to grow, especially in locations like campuses, business parks, industrial sites, and master planned communities. I’m excited about the future as more and more adopt intelligent, shared transport,” shared Benoit Perrin, General Manager of EasyMile during the ceremony of authorization hand-over by the French Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebarri which took place at at the Oncopole medical campus in the city of Toulouse.
EasyMile was the first autonomous vehicle shuttle provider to deploy fully driverless operations in France, followed by several other Level 4 services around the world, like food bank delivery in North America, deployments in the Nordics, the award-winning BusBot fully driverless shuttle in the Coffs Harbour Botanic Garden in Australia.
EasyMile’s shared passenger vehicles are equipped with appropriate levels of safety and system redundancies to operate safely and efficiently in a wide range of environments. With the level of integrity of this technology now high enough to replace on-board supervisor with remote supervision in a way that benefits commercially and operationally with its scalability and flexibility. Control center supervise multiple vehicles from anywhere which makes possible scaling of autonomous vehicle fleets without additional manpower. On the other hand, the service becomes fully flexible as vehicles can be deployed immediately when demand arises, without having to wait for additional operators to be available. This driving performance, with shuttles that can operate safely and efficiently in complex environments, delivers a service that is meaningful for users.
The service at Oncopole has been running between the main entrance and the remote parking lot, on a 600m mixed-traffic route, shared with bicycles, pedestrians as well as cars and buses since March. It will transition to fully driverless in the coming months.
The Oncopole autonomous shuttle service, which is part of the SAM* project (Safety and Acceptability of Autonomous Driving and Mobility), is in partnership with Alstom, with the latest V2X technology helping the shuttle communicate with infrastructure like traffic lights. Toulouse Métropole and the IUCT-Oncopole are also important supporters of the project.
The operation is at the heart of France’s national strategy for autonomous vehicles, enabling the co-construction of a legislative framework for deployment on open roads. It is being carried out with the support of the French government’s “Investissements d’avenir” program, led by ADEME, as part of the EVRA (Experimentation of Autonomous Road Vehicles) call for projects.
*SAM is a French national-scale project of driving and autonomous mobility experiments bringing together industrial players, research and territorial partners. The challenge is twofold: to develop the uses and knowledge of these systems by citizens and local stakeholders and to build the future regulatory framework, particularly in terms of safety validation.