La Rochelle, a city of 78,000 in Western France, has commissioned two entirely autonomous electric shuttles.
Named Cybus - probably coming from city bus - these two prototypes have been developed by the National Institute for Research on Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) and the Engineering School of La Rochelle (EIGSI). They will be tested during a period of two to three months in the city's less busy public places.
Equipped with scanners and radars to detect and avoid obstacles, Cybus will operate on a course having five statsions. They will located these statsions in real time, using a GPS.
This transportation will initially be free. Four passengers will board Cybus for free and the 5th place will be occupied by an officer who will look and identify potential problems. The presense of an officer is also envisioned to comply with the current legislation requiring a human presnce on public buses.
For now only four passengers can board for free at the same time in these vehicles, fifth place is occupied by an officer to identify potential problems and especially to comply with current legislation requiring a human presence on the bus .
Unliked other demonstrations of CityMobile - a pproject developing and operating public transportation based on concepts of autonomous road vehicles for passengers and goods - La Rochelle's Cybus is meant to adapt to a changing urban environment, open to pedestrians, ciclists and enabled to operate in traffic.
To ensure maximum security for these first tests, this vehicle-without-a-drive will transport people through the street at a speed of 6.21 miles per hour. The speed will automatically be reduced in the areas where the number of pedestrians or risk of colission is higher.
The total cost of the Cybus project is 500,000 Euros. It has been mainly financed by a concortium of EU, France and the local municipality. La Rochelle has selected CityMobile for this unique experiment that will circulate cybercars in public places.