Press releases

A first in Europe: an experimental on-demand transport service provided by autonomous vehicles, in Rouen, Normandy

Rouen, 23 March 2017

The public-private partnership made up of Métropole Région Normandie, the Normandy Region, the French state, and the Caisse des Dépôts group and its subsidiary Transdev, have launched an experimental on-demand mobility service using autonomous electric vehicles based on the Renault ZOE. It will complement the urban mobility solutions already in place, offering a last-mile shared transport service.The first phase in the partnership will last for three years, with a budget of nearly €10 million.The service will open to the public in 2018.

Autonomous vehicles on standard roads

The first on-demand transport service provided by autonomous electric vehicles will be rolled out in Rouen, Normandy, and will operate from the Technopôle du Madrillet terminus of the tram line.The Madrillet technology park covers 35 hectares and is a base for some 5,000 students and 2,500 employees. The service will serve businesses, R&D centres, a student campus and, eventually, a residential quarter. The service will offer different routes, initially a 1.5 km loop with three vehicles based on the Renault ZOE.

  • 2017: autonomous vehicles begin operating; validation of technical tests
  • 2018: the shared on-demand transport service opens to the public
  • 2019: extension of areas served

The service will operate on normal roads. The vehicles will share the roads with other vehicles and local buses, and will cross several pedestrian crossings and roundabouts. To guarantee a safe, efficient service, strategic points in public areas and on the roadside will be equipped with communications technology.

Partnership between Transdev and Renault-Nissan

For Transdev, operating this service will enhance its public transport service portfolio and accelerate the development of complete shared, autonomous and electric mobility solutions. The experiment will be used to develop system interoperability between the autonomous vehicles, infrastructure and public transport network, in order to create an integrated mobility solution. 

The project is part of the global co-operation agreement between Transdev and the Renault Nissan alliance, signedin February 2017, which covers the design of a complete and modular transport system that enables customers to book their journeys and operators to manage a fleet of autonomous vehicles.

The first step in creating an autonomous vehicle cluster in Normandy

This project is the first step in a project led by Métropole Rouen Normandie and the Normandy region to create a pilot region and a centre of excellence in autonomous mobility. The project has resulted in the Autonomous Vehicle Cluster made up of Métropole Rouen Normandie, the Normandy region, Caisse des Dépôts, Transdev, small- and medium-sized companies, start-ups and recognised players such as the Esigelec engineering school, and competitiveness centres Mov’eo (cars and mobility), which operates internationally, TES for secure electronic transactions, and the Vedecom institute. The aim of the cluster is to mobilise and develop regional R&D capital in autonomous mobility and to consolidate jobs created during the experimental phase.

A press conference will be held before the summer to present the project in detail.

The Astucio trial in autonomous shuttle services in pedestrian areas conducted end 2016 early 2017 by Transdev and its subsidiary TCAR on the embankments of the Seine in Rouen reinforced the public and private partners' resolution to introduce an on-demand experimental autonomous mobility service for the public.

Metropole Rouen Normandie

An hour away from Paris, Métropole Rouen Normandie, the largest demographic and business area in Normandy, represents nearly 500,000 inhabitants and 230,000 jobs. The Seine development corridor that links Paris and its region with its maritime interface is a hub of experimentation and innovation. It is home to major groups, small- and medium-sized companies, competitiveness hubs such as Mov’eo – an international centre dedicated to mobility technologies – and more than 2,000 researchers, 100 laboratories— including some approved CNRS or INSERM facilities — a digital ecosystem that is a member of French Tech, 40,000 students in the science parks, and a network of major schools.

The Normandy Region

The Normandy region is home to 3.3 million inhabitants and major industrial centres in the fields of energy, aeronautics, cars, food, etc. The manufacturers, subcontractors and suppliers in the automotive sector employ 45,000 people, and Renault is the leading private employee in the region.

The French state

The French state and Métropole Rouen Normandie signed the Pacte Métropolitain d’Innovation in November 2016. This means that the state provides funding for this experiment through the investment fund for local support, FSIL.

Caisse des Dépôts

Caisse des Dépôts and its subsidiaries constitute a public group in the service of the country’s general interest and economic development. Its role was reconfirmed by the modernisation of the economy law of 4 August 2008.

The Group focuses its activities on four strategic transitions for the long-term development of France: territorial; ecological and energy; digital; demographic and social.

Transdev

Transdev is a pioneering group in autonomous and shared mobility services. It is engaged in a series of pilot programmes in several countries and is currently operating the world’s first commercial service using autonomous shuttles, in Rotterdam since 2005, and in France at the EDF nuclear power station in Civaux. Transdev is accelerating the development of its autonomous vehicle programme through high-level partnerships including Vedecom and SystemX.