France’s minister of Transport, Élisabeth Borne has announced a plan to invest €200 million in the development of electric, autonomous public shuttle transport, and new legislation to support autonomous vehicles.
The government intends to invest the funding into shuttle transport in 16 rural and urban areas across France and, has committed to create the legal framework to support the initiatives.
Current legislation doesn’t make allowance for autonomous transport on public roads, and new legislation is expected. A proposal called LOM (la loi d’orientation des mobilités or, mobility orientation law) has already been passed by Senate and is expected to be adopted later in 2019. The legislation will permit autonomous vehicles on French roads from 2020.
Service operators will be sourced from the public and private transport as well as the freight or logistics industry.
One of the trial projects will see two autonomous electric shuttles serving the area of Heart of Brienne in Indre. Vehicles are already running in Paris and can carry up to five passengers each. A further trial is set to take place in Nantes, which will use and abandoned railway as the route for two autonomous vehicles which will ferry up to 300 passengers per hour during peak transport periods.
The minister says the new initiatives are hoped to encourage the use of public transport and will also improve transportation services for the elderly.
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