Navya, a French startup that makes fully electric and autonomous shuttles, will be deploying two passenger shuttles this fall at the University of Michigan the company said this week.
The shuttles, which can transport 15 passengers each, will move students autonomously between Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex and its Lurie Engineering Center across a two-mile route. This deployment is part of an ongoing partnership the startup has with Mcity, a research park at the University of Michigan that’s designed to bring driverless tech to market safely and quickly, Carrie Morton, Mcity deputy director, told Mobility Finance.
The shuttle service plans to run for at least a year, Morton said, adding that goals for the pilot testing stretch beyond the functionality of autonomous vehicle technology.
“For us, the point of the vehicles is less about, ‘How do the specific sensors work,’ but more about user experience and how do [people] adapt to and receive the technology?” she said. Therefore, the shuttles will be equipped with cameras inside and outside the vehicles, and the university will also be surveying individuals about their experience throughout the year. After the first year, Mcity and Navya will evaluate what the next step will be — which could include expanding the service, for example, Morton said.
Navya is also going to be manufacturing its vehicles at a location in Southeast Michigan, with an assembly facility that’s set to begin operations by the end of this year, the company said in a press release earlier this week.
Check out the video of the shuttles below: