Big groups invest in driverless technology

Transdev and FirstGroup have signed separate partnership agreements to develop driverless public transport systems in Europe and North America.

French-owned Transdev has gone into partnership with Kent-based Delphi Automotive to develop two driverless on-demand mobility projects in France as prototypes for operation around the world.

They are pooling their expertise to launch the pilot programmes at the University of Paris-Saclay and the northern city of Rouen, which will be the first such services operated on open roads in the European Union.

The Rouen trial is due to begin this year, allowing the two partners to test all elements of the system: vehicle dispatch, remote control command and vehicles, and to test the sensor architecture and intelligence for driverless last mile and door-to-door transport services.

In Paris-Saclay, they will collaborate in the development of a first mile/last mile on-demand service between a railway station and the Paris-Saclay plateau and campus.

The partnership brings together Transdev’s universal routing engine and Gillinghambased Delphi’s automated driving platform, which it is developing in partnership with driver assistance systems maker Mobileye.

‘Combining the strengths of our two companies, leaders in their field, will enable us to introduce innovative driverless services in our current and future operations, confirming the position of Transdev as a pioneer in integrating autonomous transport systems into global mobility networks,’ says Transdev chief performance officer Yann Leriche.

First’s agreement with the California-based GoMentum Station proving ground — the largest of 10 of its kind in the United States — embraces the two-vehicle driverless shuttle trial that the UK-based group began at an office park in San Ramon, California last year.

‘The partnership with GoMentum Station allows us to identify new mobility solutions for our customers using shared autonomous vehicle technology,’ says First Transit president Brad Thomas. ‘We see the broad application of this technology as a great first and last mile solution plus countless other transport challenges.’

How Transdev and Delphi see driverless shuttles providing a first and last mile public transport service.