Paris launches trial of driverless, electric shuttles

Seine in Paris with Eiffel Tower in autumn time

If you’re travelling to Paris in the next couple of months, this could be your chance to try out a driverless vehicle for yourself.

RATP, which operates public transport in Paris, announced this week that it is launching an experiment to trial fully electric, driverless shuttles on the city’s Charles de Gaulle bridge.

The EZ10 shuttles, built by French manufacturer Easymile, will link the Gare d’Austerlitz and the Gare du Lyon – two of the city’s main train stations – operating on a dedicated lane on the bridge.

Driverless electric shuttles on the charles de gaulle bridge in paris (image credit: Groupe RATP)

The trial is a partnership with transport authority STIF and the City of Paris, and will run every day until 7 April. The driverless shuttles, which will operate free of charge, are 100% electric and can be recharged overnight. Each shuttle is capable of carrying six seated passengers and an operator.

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said: “Paris is investing extensively in public transport, in particular by earmarking €381 million for STIF per year. 

“The advent of driverless driving technologies now opens up new outlooks and will make it possible to give far more space to soft and electric modes of transport. 

“The experiment conducted by RATP is a strong signal. It is a new service made available to Parisians and our visitors. It also helps make Paris the world capital for innovation and energy transition.”

The experiment is intended to help understand passengers’ feelings towards the shuttles and to gather feedback on ways to improve the new service.

RATP will also collect information on the driverless vehicles’ performance, reliability and safety, in order to conduct a detailed assessment of the trial.

RATP President and CEO Elisabeth Borne said: “RATP aims to offer innovative and sustainable urban mobility solutions tailored to each region. 

“RATP wishes to be present throughout the travel sequence in order to encourage usage of public transport. The program of experiments with driverless vehicles is part of this program.”

“Testing, integrating and then developing innovative technologies that offer a better service to the region’s inhabitants are at the heart of the transport revolution that I launched in Paris and throughout the region a year ago,” said Valérie Pécresse, STIF president and president of the Ile-de-France region. 

“The data to be collected from this demonstration, and also from at least three other permanent, driverless shuttle services to be launched in the region by STIF this year, will help build the world’s first Smart Region.”

RATP confirmed that other driverless shuttle experiments will be launched in Paris this year, including one between Château de Vincennes and the floral park in Vincennes forest. 

The company is also exploring other uses of autonomous driving, including a ‘smart garage’ concept in a Paris bus station that will see buses parking automatically to help save time and optimise the space available in cramped urban bus depots.