France: €200M to launch & legalise autonomous shuttles


France’s Transport Minister Élisabeth Borne has announced a plan to develop transit with autonomous electric vehicles. The government intends to invest a total of 200 million euros in tests with self-driving electric shuttles in 16 areas of France and to create the legal framework.

This means the French government is writing a law to allow autonomous electric shuttles to run on public roads. But first, the government will sponsor trials in sixteen urban and rural areas across France. Service operators come from public or private transport as well as freight or logistics industry.

One of the experiments will run two autonomous electric shuttles serving five communes of Heart of Brienne, in Indre. The electric vehicles used here are already running in Paris, near the Gare de Lyon or in the business district of La Défense and can carry up to five passengers each. Another trial will take place in the Nantes region where an abandoned railway is to serve as a route for two autonomous public transport vehicles, which could carry up to 300 passengers per hour during rush hour.

Elisabeth Borne says that the use cases are designed to take people out of the car and also serve the elderly population.

When it comes to the law, a proposal called LOM (la loi d’orientation des mobilités or, mobility orientation law) has already made it through the Senate and should be finally adopted this summer. It will allow autonomous shuttles to circulate freely from 2020 on the entire public road network.

The minister will give a keynote at the upcoming EVS32 conference which takes place in Lyon from 19 to 22 May this year. Borne will be joined by Laurent Wauquiez, President of the Auvergne Rhône Alpes Regional Council, Minister Winfried Hermann, from the German Baden Württemberg Ministry of transport, as well as Prince Albert de Monaco and of course industry experts reportedly. (in French)


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