Groupe ADP has announced that Charles de Gaulle will be France’s first airport to trail autonomous shuttle buses, which will run from the airport’s suburban train station to Groupe ADP’s headquarters at the Environmental and Sustainable Development Resource Centre.
Transport group Keolis and autonomous shuttle designer Navya will provide the two shuttles for the trial, which will conclude in July 2018. The shuttles can each carry up to 15 passengers—11 seated and four standing—and can reach 25km/h on a 700m-long track. The service will be free for passengers and available to those who scan a QR code with a smartphone.
The airport has also built a system of smart traffic signals that communicate with the shuttles in order to optimise effectiveness and safety. Feedback from employees and passengers will also be collected during the trial, and used to inform future autonomous projects.
“Autonomous transport services will play a key role in our aim to create a new generation of connected airports,” said Groupe ADP deputy CEO Edward Arkwright. “With this first trial, Groupe ADP is paving the way for developing this technology within our airport networks in France and abroad. In these constrained environments, autonomous technology is a lever for optimising infrastructures for a new mobility offer.”
The news follows last month’s announcement by London’s Gatwick Airport that it is trialling autonomous vehicles for its staff to improve the efficiency of its 300 airside vehicles, which are currently stationary 90% of the time.
Navya CEO Christophe Sapet aims to address issues of inefficiency, although on a much larger scale at Charles de Gaulle: “The airport of the future is based on smart and specially adapted mobility solutions that are able to communicate with the infrastructure that we have set up at Roissypôle with Groupe ADP.”
“Airports are areas where the traffic is extremely concentrated and so it is really important to manage and optimise the flow,” he said. “The aim of this trial is from now on, to provide a service that takes into account future deployments.”