Europe’s First Fully Autonomous Bus Is Now on the Road3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Europe is all set to integrate autonomous vehicles into its public transport with its first fully self-driving bus.
As of today, driverless cars are ready to revolutionize mobility. As we combat climate change, automated vehicles have become critical to lower carbon emissions, paving the way for a sustainable future. They will transform how we commute and travel long distances, remove people from high-risk work environments, and streamline our industries.
Many countries have made legal frameworks to regulate autonomous buses and cars – Europe, for instance, is launching its first fully autonomous bus next month.
EasyMile, a Toulouse-based technology company, has announced that it is the first in Europe to be authorized to operate without a human attendant on a public road in mixed traffic. The authorization comes from France’s Ministries of Transport and f Environmental Transition, following extensive test runs in partnership with Alstom in the southern city of Toulouse. EasyMile passed rigorous tests and dry runs to obtain the permissions, demonstrating the technology’s safety and reliability.
Test Trials of Europe’s First Autonomous Bus
EasyMile is a leading player in developing new passenger and goods transport modes. The company has been helping major transport operators and local governments implement autonomous solutions for passenger transport for the past seven years. Its EZ10 autonomous shuttle offers over 400 services across France and abroad.
In early 2021, EasyMile tested a driverless shuttle at the Oncopole medical campus in Toulouse, France, which ran between the main entrance and a parking lot 600 meters away on a mixed-traffic route shared by cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians.
The project was part of the Safety and Acceptability of Autonomous Driving and Mobility (SAM), a national-scale French initiative to develop and deploy autonomous vehicles on public roads.
Autonomous Bus, EZ10, Operates at Level 4
Drive automation is divided into six levels, with zero to two requiring constant supervision and three to five allowing the vehicle to drive itself.
Europe’s first autonomous bus, the EZ10 operates on Level 4, which means that it is independent and has no onboard supervision, making it the market’s most intelligent autonomous shuttle provider. It is also interesting to note that even Tesla’s Full Driving Feature Car is classified as a Level 2 SAE vehicle, which means it is partially autonomous and requires human supervision to some degree.
Despite eliminating onboard supervision, it has introduced remote surveillance, which keeps in constant contact with the vehicle concerning where it is, what it sees, or what it will do next. It’s pretty incredible. Additionally, with its sensor system, it gets a whole vision that it uses to adapt to its path or trajectory accordingly.
Besides being run on Level 4, the latest version of EZ10 seats 12 people and includes cushioned seating, safety belts, and an automated ramp and wheelchair anchor points for passengers with disabilities. In January 2021, EasyMiles announced that it had upgraded the sensor suite of the EZ10 and collaborated with German startup Sono Motors to integrate solar cells and extend the vehicle’s range.
Also Read: Top 10 Bike-Friendly Cities in Europe
Ready to Hit the Roads of Europe in September
With its continuous advanced tech and after trying thousands of stimulations every day, EasyMile has distinguished itself in the market. “It is a first in Europe: a shuttle will be able to run on public roads without an operator onboard, and it is happening in Toulouse,” Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transport, announced on 22 November 2021. A few weeks from now, EasyMile will have the opportunity to launch its autonomous bus in France in September 2022, making it the first fully autonomous bus to hit the roads of Europe.