Automotive

First driverless vehicle approved to operate on public roads in Europe

First driverless vehicle appro...
EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle in action in Toulouse, France
EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle in action in Toulouse, France
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EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle in action in Toulouse, France
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EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle in action in Toulouse, France
EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle has become the first vehicle in Europe to receive authorization for Level 4 autonomy on public roads
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EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle has become the first vehicle in Europe to receive authorization for Level 4 autonomy on public roads

The world of autonomous transport technology is a busy space, and one company covering a lot of ground is French outfit EasyMile. The startup has been testing and developing its driverless shuttle at various locations around the world, and has now added another feather to its cap, becoming the first vehicle authorized to operate without a human driver on public roads in France.

Since first popping up back in 2015 with its box-on-wheels EZ10 people mover, we've seen EasyMile test out its vehicle in trials in more than 30 countries around the globe, many of which don't feature a human onboard but are overseen by a remote operator. This includes testing in Singapore, the US , Finland and Australia, as the company works to position its vehicle as an autonomous transport solution for private campuses, factories, airports and planned communities.

The latest version of the EZ10 has capacity for 15 people, with cushioned seating and safety belts, while the company also recently added an automated ramp and wheelchair anchor points for disabled passengers. It also recently upgraded the EZ10's sensor suite, and teamed up with German startup Sono Motors to integrate solar cells and extend the vehicle's range.

EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle has become the first vehicle in Europe to receive authorization for Level 4 autonomy on public roads
EasyMile's EZ10 shuttle has become the first vehicle in Europe to receive authorization for Level 4 autonomy on public roads

EasyMile has been trialing its driverless shuttle at the Oncopole medical campus in Toulouse, France, operating between the main entrance and a parking lot 600 m (2,000 ft) away along a mixed traffic route shared with bikes, pedestrians, cars and buses. Having proved the safety and reliability of the service, the company has now become Europe's first to receive authorization for Level 4 autonomy on public roads, handed down by the French government.

This is a high level of automation that enables the vehicle to operate without a human onboard, and the approval brings EasyMile's total number of Level 4 deployments around the world to seven. Regulations clear the way for autonomous vehicles to start operating on public roads in France in September 2022.

“This is an important step towards real commercialization of autonomous driving, both on large private sites, as well as on public roads," says EasyMile’s General Manager Benoit Perrin. "The applications for our technology to move people and goods continue to grow, especially in locations like campuses, business parks, industrial sites, and master planned communities. I’m excited about the future as more and more adopt intelligent, shared transport."

Source: EasyMile

6 comments
6 comments
ppeter
In my opinion, the security standards autonomous vehicles need to meet are a bit to high. I think, any autonomous driving system that archives "5 times safer than the average(!) human driver" should be allowed on the roads. And, as I understand it, at least for the environment "highway" several autonomous driving systems already archived this level, though not necessary for the environment "country road" and probably not for "city". I would love to nap or read a book while driving a long distance on the highway, and I would already trust some of the better ones among the autonomous driving systems to take over during that time, and just to wake me up a couple of kilometres before the point I need to exit the highway.
martinwinlow
Can I ask the (rather obvious) question...? How fast does it go?
martinwinlow
@pppeter - I do wonder if we will ever see autonomous vehicles on our roads due to the 'elf'n'safety' brigade sticking their massively disproportionate oar in (as usual). However, the huge counter to that, the amount of money that stands to be made and saved from autonomous vehicles, may win everyone over.
FatFrass
Who to sue. Thats all that matters in america
highlandboy
This is a “last mile” solution. Not proposed for the open road. So speed and restricted use puts it in a seperate category to a standard vehicle. Skipping these details is a little disingenuous.
mikewax
@ppeter good point but these are, after all, human beings we're talking about. Long after they prove to be far safer than we are, people will still be afraid to use them. Don't underestimate human stupidity. You know that if conventional cars didn't exist and somebody tried to invent one today, no way in hell they would be permitted on public roads.