An agent sporting a sailor suit is sure to surprise public transit users on the Bibus network: today, a virtual avatar is on hand in Brest to provide passengers with information about their journey in a way that is nothing if not innovative. Bibus and RATP Dev are adding this new technology to the face-to-face kiosks and digital data already in their passenger information system.

RD Brest, the local subsidiary of RATP Dev that operates the Bibus network, is currently testing an innovative new passenger information service. This new category of agent is a "virtual avatar" who is on hand to provide information to public transit users in Brest. 
Developed in partnership with a start-up company called, this digital avatar is connected to the Bibus network information system and powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). It can answer passengers' questions about their journeys throughout the transit network: real-time information, routes, fares, or unforeseen incidents.
This avatar offers many features to enable a more seamless passenger experience for the users of the Bibus network. It can understand complex spoken questions and conduct a conversation in several languages thanks to its AI, without the need for text input. It can also calculate routes, which users can download by scanning a QR Code.

For Cécile Tuil, RATP Dev Executive Director for Customers and Engagement, "Innovation is an essential mainstay of our growth strategy, making the passenger journey more seamless and intuitive. We offer services that are ever-more innovative to improve the efficiency and quality of the transit networks that we operate; all to enrich the user experience. This pilot scheme of a virtual avatar that uses the latest technologies is a perfect example of that ambition."
This test phase will allow RATP Dev to analyse the technical performance of the system (response time, comprehension of spoken questions in an urban ambient noise setting, etc.) and analyse user feedback. Depending on the results of this initial test, RATP Dev will fine-tune the system before planning a larger-scale roll-out to the other public transit networks it operates in France and around the world.

The goal is to make this virtual avatar part of the overall passenger information system; an assistant that provides passengers with useful information by responding naturally and seamlessly to voice commands or typed questions. RATP Dev creates passenger information systems that offer face-to-face conversations with ticket agents as well as digital interfaces (screens, avatars, mobile apps, billboard displays, etc.), making information available to passengers in as many ways as possible, so they can use whichever one they prefer.

Brest, an innovation showcase for RATP Dev 

Ker'Lab is one of RATP Dev's two innovation acceleration laboratories. With the goal of combining ideas and experience to come up with sustainable urban mobility systems, this "Innovation Laboratory" in Brest proudly proposes the virtual avatar as a way to respond to passenger information requests 24/7.


Innovation at RATP Dev:

•    Two innovation acceleration laboratories; one in Brest (Ker'Lab) and the other in Casablanca (Casaroc)
•    An agile approach based on Design Thinking, experiments in the field, and painstaking analysis of user feedback
•    Constantly keeping abreast of new technologies and forging dozens of successful partnerships with start-ups
•    An in-house innovation challenge to implement innovations