Bestmile and MobileThinking support autonomous vehicle tests in Geneva

22.05.2018 15:30

Two startups, Bestmile from Lausanne and MobileThiinking from Geneva have joined a 4-year AVENUE project consortium to test autonomous vehicle use with public transit agencies in multiple European cities, starting in Geneva. The project has a total budget of €22 million.

The AVENUE project consortium, for "Autonomous Vehicles to Evolve to a New Urban Experience», led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) aims to identify the needs of the future users in preparation for the technical, economic and legislative integration of autonomous vehicles in the urban and sub-urban environments.

The project brings together 16 partners: academic institutions, public transport operators, autonomous vehicle manufacturers, major technology R&D companies and specialized start-ups. Among them are five Swiss; alongside the UNIGE, the Transports publics genevois (tpg) and the State of Geneva, two start-ups are also involved, MobileThinking a spinoff of UNIGE focusing on the development of Android and iOS mobile applications and innovative solutions, and BestMile from the EPFL.

The startup Bestmile, is a provider of services infrastructure that enables fleets of vehicles to work together to streamline transit, working with public transit agencies to expand services into new areas and to remove first-mile/last-mile obstacles to public transit utilisation. Bestmile’s Mobility Services Platform will be used to manage fleet services, enabling operators to plan routes and stops for fixed-routes and to match vehicles with travellers for on-demand services.

Three major themes
The project is structured around three major themes: autonomous driving, optimization of itineraries and in- and out- of vehicle services. The first theme addresses security, fluidity of traffic and ability to adapt to exceptional road situations. At first, it will be studied only in limited areas, whose environment has been previously fully mapped. The second theme will optimize the vehicles itineraries in a perspective of cost reduction and user comfort. Passengers will be able to book their trip from their smartphone, via a simple and user-friendly application, offering different levels of services. The third theme will focus on in-and-out of vehicle services, such as augmented reality solutions on vehicle windows, video conferencing options, as well as assistance to meet special needs' and less autonomous passengers, such as children or seniors.

Geneva among the pilot sites
The AVENUE project plans to conduct its tests through a fleet of vehicles of different sizes, from 4 to 12 seats, chosen by the system according to the itinerary and services requested by the user. Geneva is one of the sites chosen to conduct the large-scale tests.

The Geneva urban fabric indeed offers several advantages: its public transport network is managed for the most part by a single operator open to innovation, the tpg, simplifying the issues of coordination and connectivity. Despite its small size, Geneva and its traffic have all the characteristics of urban networks to test complex scenarios: traffic jams, pedestrian zones, bike paths. The city is also accurately mapped, there is a 3D modeling and high precision GPS localization services.

The project has a total budget of 22 million euros and funded by the European Commission up to the level of 16 million euros.

(Press release)

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