A first for RATP Group: two shuttles will run on the open road for nearly two months (13 February – 30 March) at the private CEA Paris-Saclay facility.

The shuttles will interact with other vehicles at the site and with pedestrians and cyclists. They will also traverse intersections and pedestrian crossings and negotiate speed ramps and crossroads. There will be an operator on board.

Both shuttles are driverless and 100% electrically powered from EasyMile. They can transport up to 12 passengers (six seated places) and will run each business day from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. on a 2.6-km loop with seven stops. Shuttles will be free and will operate every 15 minutes. High frequency is to make the service attractive to the 6,000 people (employees of the CEA and partner organisations, service providers and students and visitors) using the facility daily.

The experiment is part of the SESNA project, a national collaborative R&D project focusing on driverless vehicles financed by BPI France and Paris regional authorities and which also involves RATP group, the CEA, Bureau Veritas, Sherpa Engineering, BMCP and EasyMile.

CEA Paris-Saclay: a unique area for experimenting

The CEA Paris-Saclay facility is a top-tier research and innovation centre on a national and European scale. The multi-disciplinary facility covers a major proportion of the CEA’s civil research activities in low carbon-emission energies, climate and environment, material sciences, life sciences, healthcare, technological research and digital sciences.

As a true “science city”, the CEA Saclay facility provides an urban environment with moderate traffic, making it a unique area for experimenting for RATP. Its community of passenger scientists is open to the experimental approach.

CEA-List, which is dedicated to smart digital systems, is a major research player in driverless vehicles. It is involved in the SESNA project, in cyber-security issues with Bureau Veritas (which has already developed a best practice guide for driverless vehicle cyber-security) and is a partner in the EBSF_2 project.

RATP Group committed to becoming the leader in driverless vehicles for urban transport 

This is the fifth experiment in this issue for RATP Group. In November 2017 RATP Group launched a service in the Floral Park in Vincennes (Paris 12th arrondissement), which is still in progress.

The shuttles used in the Saclay experiment are operated by RATP Dev, the subsidiary tasked with group expansion outside its historic network in the Paris region. RATP Dev has already run driverless shuttles in experiments in Austin, Texas and in Boulogne-sur-Mer in France.

To date, over 43,000 passengers have used various shuttle services launched by RATP Group.

RATP Group at the heart of innovation in new forms of mobility

Driverless vehicles are one of the priority fields of innovation for RATP Group, which aims to become a leading partner for smart, sustainable cities. Driverless vehicles are an opportunity for RATP Group to provide new services that round out the current mobility offering by ensuring solutions catering to mobility needs not currently fulfilled (low-density areas, low movement, first and last mile, etc.). Driverless vehicles are also sufficiently adaptable and flexible to help equate supply to demand. In addition to driverless vehicles, RATP Group has innovative programs in transport on demand (the Slide service in Bristol, for example) and new and emerging mobility models offering integrated bundled services (MaaS). It is also developing new partnerships, for example through its RATP Capital Innovation fund set up in early 2017 with car-pooling specialist Communauto, Wayz’Up (now Klaxit), a car-sharing expert, Citizen Mobility, which specialises in transporting fragile passengers, and Cityscoot, the leader in self-service scooters.