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Autonomous shuttle bus undergoes UK trials

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Members of the public are being invited to trial an autonomous electric shuttle bus which is making its first appearance in the UK at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this month.

The NAVYA shuttle – previously tested in the USA, France and Denmark – will travel on a loop around the park until 30 September, serving four stops and taking around 12 minutes per trip.

The service is free for members of the public and is the result of a partnership between Keolis, NAVYA, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, ENGIE, Here East and Our Parklife.

It aims to demonstrate how autonomous vehicle technology can be used to provide a smart and sustainable solution for ‘first and last mile’ journeys that complement other forms of public transport.

The shuttles use state of the art sensors, cameras, odometry and GPS mapping to navigate a programmed route without a driver, and detect obstacles in their path.

Each can accommodate 15 passengers and are capable of speeds up to 28MPH. But for the purposes of this trial the vehicle’s speed will be limited to meet on site regulations. An operator will be on board at all times to answer questions.

Keolis UK chief executive Alistair Gordon said: “The challenge for future cities is developing sustainable, integrated transport networks that work for the passenger. Autonomous technology is just one of the innovations we’re exploring to help deliver this and revolutionise public transport in the UK.”

NAVYA business development manager Hervé Gentil said: “We are delighted to be a part of the event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and to be given the opportunity to showcase our innovative smart mobility solution in this emblematic location which is in itself, a representation of change and innovation.”

The partnership is looking at the possibility of using the shuttles in a range of locations, including airports, hospitals, university campuses, tourist attractions and shopping centres.