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Aussie self-drive shuttle trial's supplier unveils steering wheel-free taxi

By Barry Park, 09 Nov 2017 News

Navya taxi unveiled

French autonomous vehicle maker Navya wants its Autonom Cab to one day take over most of the driving in crowded cities

dir="ltr">A FRENCH autonomous car maker trialling its technology in Western Australia has pulled the wraps off a taxi it hopes will soon be plying the world’s roads.

Navya, which already has a self-driving shuttle bus on a fixed route in southern Perth as part of a trial being run by the state’s Royal Automobile Club. The tall, boxy Autonom Cab, as it is called, can carry up to six people, and is being developed for both private and public use.

Navya self-drive taxi“The cab was designed from the outset to be autonomous, just like all the vehicles in the Autonom range, meaning that there is no cockpit, steering wheel or pedals,” the company said in a statement. “The Autonom Cab is capable of speeds up to 55mph (90km/h), but will average closer to 30mph (50km/h) as it travels in urban areas to conform with local speed limits.”

“...We recognise that the status of individual cars is rapidly changing, especially among younger generations, many of whom don’t have their driver’s license and are less attached to the concept of owning a car,” Navya chief executive Christophe Sapet said. “What they want are mobility solutions available 24/7, ensuring their safety and well-being at a reduced cost.”

The shuttle taking part in the Perth trial can carry up to 15 people. According to the RAC WA, the trial aims to learn about the impacts and opportunities generated by automated vehicles, and help Australia prepare a roadmap to safely introduce automated vehicle technology.

Navya self-drive taxiThe Perth trial was launched in 2016, however the Intellibus shuttle bus did not open to the public until September last year. It takes passengers on a 20-minute trip along a 3.5-kilometre route on the south Perth foreshore, with RAC WA gradually exposing it to other road users, including traffic signs, traffic lights, right turn manoeuvres and traffic flows.

The Autonom Cab includes 10 lidar sensors, six cameras, four radars, two sat-nav antennae and a gyroscope.

“Navya already has various partnership agreements with transport specialists, notably with KEOLIS in Europe and the United States, and with RAC in Australia,” the company said. “These partnerships will enable NAVYA to roll out fleets of Autonoms that will operate on the open road in city centres.”

Navya announced earlier this year that it had extended its partnership with RAC WA that wold help it to roll out tests throughout Australia.