A consortium consisting of Renault Group, EasyMile, StatInf, Equans, Alstom and Keolis has announced plans to deploy Level 4 autonomous minibuses in downtown Châteauroux, France.
This project, known as Mach2 will advance the rollout of automated public transport in France, while representing the first Level 4 autonomous mobility service on this scale.
“This project is much more than just a technological success. It is a crucial step in demonstrating the value of a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles in a city. By replacing on-board supervisors with remote supervision of multiple vehicles, we will demonstrate the positive economic impact of this type of service.
“Autonomous technology enables more efficient, accessible and less costly public transportation for communities. This project is a major acceleration in terms of performance and as the consortium coordinator, we are proud to unite the most influential players in the French mobility ecosystem.”
The autonomous minibus service will be operational from 2026 and will be integrated into Châteauroux’s Horizon bus network.
Alike to the city’s existing buses, the autonomous vehicles will be operated and maintained by Keolis.
Meanwhile, Renault Group will provide the robotised electric minibus platform, EasyMile will supply the autonomous driving system and StatInf will be responsible for the validation of critical software elements.
In addition, the Computer Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) system will be provided by Equans, and Alstom will be responsible for the connected safety infrastructure and communication protocols.
“In this project, Alstom will provide the traffic light interaction system that will make the automated vehicle traffic safer and more reliable. This innovative solution will also allow interaction with emergency vehicles. Called TLS (Traffic Light System), the system has recently obtained SIL4 certification, the highest level of certification for railway safety. Alstom is delighted to bring its expertise and the high standards of the railway industry to automated road mobility through this project.”
This project aims to provide a real city-centre public transport service. The 6-meter Renault minibuses will therefore be significantly larger and faster than the autonomous shuttles deployed today.
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