Countries worldwide see a surge in the use of autonomous vehicles, and the French company EasyMile holds a significant share in the relevant business in Europe. The startup has been developing and testing its self-driving shuttle at various locations around the world.
In a new milestone for autonomous driving, the company has become the first driverless solutions provider in Europe authorized to operate at Level 4 – without any human attendant onboard – in mixed traffic on a public road. The approval was given by France’s Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Ecological Transition, on the advice of the Minister of the Interior and local authorities, for its experimentation in Toulouse, public service at the Oncopole medical campus in the southern city, in partnership with Alstom.
EasyMile’s fully driverless offering has seen rapid growth in the past 18 months. It was the first autonomous vehicle shuttle provider to deploy fully driverless operations in France on a private site, followed by several other Level 4 services around the world. The company is the most experienced autonomous shuttle provider of Level 4 deployments with 7 to date, the highest number on the market today.
EasyMile’s shared passenger vehicles are equipped with appropriate levels of safety and system redundancies to operate safely and efficiently in a wide range of environments. The service at Oncopole has been running between the main entrance and the remote parking lot, on a 600m mixed-traffic route, shared with bicycles, pedestrians as well as cars and buses since March. It will transition to fully driverless in the coming months.
Showing the level of maturity of EasyMile and its technology, it came in a decree on 29 June 2021, ahead of the final regulatory framework implementation allowing the circulation of autonomous vehicles on public roads in France, starting in September 2022. EasyMile passed rigorous tests and dry-runs, demonstrating the safety and reliability of the technology.
“This is an important step towards real commercialization of autonomous driving, both on large private sites, as well as on public roads,” said EasyMile’s General Manager Benoit Perrin. “The applications for our technology to move people and goods continue to grow, especially in locations like campuses, business parks, industrial sites, and master-planned communities. I’m excited about the future as more and more adopt intelligent, shared transport.”