French company launches fully autonomous taxi

November 10, 2017 //By Nick Flaherty
French developer Navya in Lyon has launched a dedicated electric taxi that is fully autonomous without a steering wheel or place for a driver.

The AUTONOM CAB carries up to six passengers at a maxmum speed of 90 kph (55mph) using 22 or 33kWh lithium phospor battery packs (LiFePO 4) with up to 10 hours of operation.

To achieve the Level 5 autonomous operation it uses ten Lidar sensors (three giving 360 degree visibility and the rest with 145 degree visibility), six cameras, four radars, two GNSS satellite antennas and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). These sensors provide at least a triple redundancy across all functions, says the company. It also uses high precision GPS RTK positioning and high resolution maps for navigation. 

“Imagine what cities would be like if there were nothing but AUTONOMS running on the road. No more traffic jams or parking problems, fewer accidents and less pollution,” said Christophe Sapet, CEO fo Navya. “At NAVYA, we recognize 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. What they want are mobility solutions available 24/7, ensuring their safety and well-being at a reduced cost. AUTONOM CAB is leading edge and will revolutionize both habits and technology, enabling a great many people to gain access to a brand-new mobility solution.”

It will be available as either a private or shared service via a dedicated smartphone application called NAVYA APP to order the cab. Current plans are for the taxi to begin service in the second quarter of 2018. NAVYA already has various partnership agreements with transport specialists, notably with KEOLIS in Europe and the United States and with RAC in Australia. These partnerships will enable NAVYA to roll out fleets of Autonoms that will operate on the open road in city centers. Other partnerships are set to be announced during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas in January.

This follows on from a slower, larger shuttle that has been used commercially on private sites for