The province of Groningen is going to collaborate with the French company NAVYA with regard to autonomous transport. A self-driving vehicle of the company will be tested at the premises of 5G Lab at the Zernike Campus.
Possibly, a self-driving minibus will be operated at the Ommelander Hospital as well. Talks are being held about this between the provincial authorities and the hospital. In addition, there are plans for a test with a self-driving taxi. It’s the first time that NAVYA collaborates with a Dutch party.
The collaboration fits in with the province’s ambitions to conduct tests with several suppliers. Even last year, tests were done with a minibus supplied by a different company. The self-driving vehicle supplied by NAVYA, known as the ‘Autonom Shuttle’, has greater potential than the previously tested minibus. For example, it is better able to recognize objects and drive at a higher speed.
By now, NAVYA has as many as sixty minibuses on the road throughout the world, including in Paris, Las Vegas and Singapore. No fewer than 250,000 passengers have used the minibuses by now. The NAVYA minibus will come to Groningen in March 2018. At the 5G Lab at the Zernike Campus, tests will be conducted with the vehicle, such as driving it by remote control. Possibly the minibus will also go for tests to Eemshaven and Loppersum.
Ommelander Hospital at Scheemda
The provincial authorities are currently engaged in talks with the Ommelander Hospital about a test that is to start in the summer of 2018, with a self-driving minibus between the bus stop at the provincial road N362 and the main entrance to the new hospital in Scheemda. This test will be a new step in the development towards autonomous transport because, in this case, the minibus will partly be driving among other traffic and connect with the existing public transport system. The tests require the permission and dispensation of the Government Road Transport Agency (‘RDW’).
Furthermore, the province of Groningen has come to an agreement with NAVYA so that, next year, the company will make an offer regarding its self-driving taxi, called the ‘Autonom Cab’. This is a self-driving vehicle for six persons that can drive at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers an hour. The province and NAVYA think it will bring extra opportunities for solving the problem of accessibility in sparsely populated areas, in combination with the self-driving minibus. Therefore, the province wants to be the first to test the Cab in the Netherlands. The taxi will probably come onto the market in June 2018.