Your complete guide to Government funding
of autonomous vehicle projects in France
The ambitious French government is throwing its full weight – and €42 million – in support of the nation’s autonomous car start-ups.
Transport ministers are funding some 16 different programmes in a bid to hit a target of one million autonomous kilometres travelled by 2022.
In all, some €120 million is expected to be invested in projects over the next three years. Special report compiled by Research Editor Yuki Yoshida.
Back in May last year, the weighty National Strategy for the Development of Autonomous Vehicles was unveiled by the French government.
The ambitious roadmap aims to establish France as a global driving force in the development of autonomous vehicles and help its indigenous manufacturers stay ahead of their competitors.
To realise this, the project call for the Autonomous Vehicle Experiment (EVRA) with the support of the Investment Programme Future Investments (IPA) was launched in June 2018.
The winners of the call were announced in April this year by the Minister of Transport.
Two consortiums were chosen: the Safety and acceptability of driving and Autonomous Mobility (Sécurité et acceptabilité de la conduite et de la Mobilité autonome, or SAM for short) and the Autonomous Shuttle Experimentation (Expérimentations de Navettes Autonomes, ENA).
The SAM project will be led by the French Automobile Platform (‘La Plateforme Automobile’, PFA) representing 13 experiments.Pilot projects include a valet parking service, on-demand transport service in urban areas and an autonomous bus service.
The ENA will be led by the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Planning and Networks (‘Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports de l’Aménagement et des Réseaux’, IFSTTAR) representing three trials.These evaluations will focus on autonomous shuttle services in both urban and rural areas.
The total amount of French government’s investment toward these 16 experiments is €42 million, but a further €68 million of further investment is expected to be generated. The target is one million autonomous kilometres travelled by 2022.
PSA and Renault
Distance: 15,000 km
Two types of tests will be conducted.One is safety validation trials of two PSA and seven Renault vehicles.The other is to run three PSA prototype vehicles and four of Renault cars with a supervising operator.
This evaluation comprises the creation of an automated valet parking system in an underground car park run by Indigo, France’s largest car park operator.The idea is that an owner will drop off and pick up their car in a reserved zone.The car will move autonomously between this zone and an available and automatically-allocated parking space.One prototype vehicle will be used to build the experiment and later 12 to 15 electric car-sharing vehicles will be used.
Distance: 7.2 km.
This test aims to transport up to 300 passengers per hour during rush hour.
An abandoned railway will be utilised to serve as a route for two autonomous public transport vehicles.The abandoned railway track will be rebuilt by SNCF and will allow the circulation of two autonomously driven public transport vehicles without other vehicles on the track.
Left Bank, Paris
Two electric shuttles and four passenger cars will run on a total of 14 km of roads.
This is a hybrid experiment of passenger cars and public transport.The idea is to test a service offering both a scheduled and on-demand transport in a dense urban neighbourhood including a hospital.
Bois de Vincennes
The currently operated public transport service will be extended over two courses, one 4.6 km and the other 6 km. Three EasyMile shuttles and two Navya shuttles will test the interoperability of these vehicles in a medium-density but highly complex urban area.These shuttles will extend the existing bus line by a few kilometres.
This is an experiment with three EasyMile shuttles in order to connect the RER railway station to a car park 4.3 km away.The service may evolve into on-demand transport to serve a wider area.
Transdev and Renault
This is a three-step experiment.The first is an autonomous night shuttle service from Massy RER station to the Plateau de Saclay (also called Silicon Valley Européenne, or European Silicon Valley).The second is on-demand autonomous feeder shuttle to supplement the bus network.The third one is a VTC-type service (private chauffer service) with four Renault private vehicles.
Transdev and Renault
Distance: 10 km
This is essentially a continuation of a project currently being carried out with three different services.The first is six complementary autonomous shuttles to an existing bus line.The second is a substitution of another bus line by the same six shuttles.The third is a service to the city centre by four private vehicles supplied by Renault.
Distance: 1.2 km
This evaluation comprises the circulation of an EasyMile shuttle on a route closed to traffic but open to pedestrians and soft mobility.
University of Rennes campus
Distance: 2.6 km and 6.2 km paths
This is an addition to a trial that has been going on at the same place since January 2019. It’s a new public transport line that serves the campus, stopping at two bus stops.It will run in the area reserved for shuttles, active and soft modes.Also, it will run in some areas together with other motorised urban traffic.Two Navya shuttles will be used and two from a different supplier to test the interoperability of different shuttles.
Distance: 2.8 km
This project takes place in the centre of Clermont-Ferrand on public roads shared with traffic, as well as some bus lanes and pedestrianised streets.Three EasyMile shuttles will be operated.The line is integrated with the public transport network and connects with trams and buses.
Distance: 1 km
EasyMile offers a feeder service between a media centre and its remote parking with a shuttle without an operator on board.The proposed service is intended to replace a current shuttle with driver.It will first be implemented along a dedicated path but it will pass through intersections open to traffic. In the second phase, it will be operated on a public road.
This comprises the deployment of two logistics droids that will deliver either local products to shops and restaurants in the city centre (with STEF) or parcels for businesses and distribution centres (with La Poste).Phase 1 will focus on validation of the system by a supervisor in a high-speed and demanding environment.Phase 2 will test the system and its performance in the traffic environment in preparation for the uses planned in phase 3.
This involves two autonomous shuttles transporting around 180 passengers an hour in the community of the municipality of Sophia Antipolis (Communauté d’Agglomération de Sophia Antipolis, CASA).
A need has been identified to improve one of the two public transport services serving the airport.The project involves the installation of a dedicated lane and an autonomous shuttle service from the terminus of the T3 tramline, using three shuttles to transport around 950 passengers per hour.
Heart of Brienne
Distance: 22.3 km
This comprises eight daily trips (with a capacity of five passengers) in the community of communesin the Heart of Brenne.
This is designed to provide answers to the mobility needs of an isolated population in a largely rural area.It’s a service to both elderly and non-elderly people, a transport service to minimise their isolation. Two shuttles will go around a loop will provide people with an alternative to their private cars.