The small town of Giverny in the north of France is a popular tourist destination due to its connections with the artist, Monet – and, next year will have three autonomous shuttles connecting it with the nearest train station in Vernon. The service is part of a project called NIMFEA – Navettes Innovantes Modulaires du Futur Expérimentales et Autonomes, or Experimental and Autonomous Innovative Modular Shuttles of the Future. NIMFEA is a public/private project made up of the Seine Normandie Agglomération, Transdev Autonomous Transport System (ATS), Transdev Normandie, and NextMove – a competitiveness cluster. The objectives of the shuttle project are to: ensure mobility for residents, employees. and tourists; implement a remote supervision system; and to train and support new skills in the mobility arena.
For now, the shuttles will run only during the summer season, starting in April of 2022. The service will be operated by three EasyMile EZ10 driverless shuttles, each of them accommodating up to 12 passengers. The route presents unique challenges to driverless shuttle use, as it combines the more urban area around the train station – including mixed traffic, traffic circles, and pedestrians – then crosses a bridge to meet a regional road for the final segment to the village. According to Easymile, this 12-kilometer round trip is one of the longest routes on mixed open roads ever tested by this type of self-driving vehicle.
Benieke Treverton, EasyMile’s Head of Communications, said, “This is a clear indication of the maturing of driverless technology, with it ready and capable of joining these two areas with their complexities. It corresponds very well with EasyMile’s strategy of use cases where there can be a real service. I can see services like this in other countries and certainly elsewhere in France.”