The French capital ran its first test of a new self-driving bus on a specially designed circuit in a pedestrian area. This marks the first test of driverless public transit in Paris and one of the first in the world. The bus, made by the French tech film Easymile, has spent the last few weeks testing in actual road conditions in Helsinki, Finland. This is in addition to closed-loop tests in California and Singapore.
The French government hopes to install the bus as a shuttle betwen transit stations and will continue testing in Paris, with a second test in Lyon, France, coming soon. These buses are intended to showcase the development of self-driving technology with public applications after most development has been done by private companies like Uber and Tesla. The Paris transit authority performed this test just days after announcing ambitious plans to develop a city-wide cablecar and gondola network to support its crowded bus system.
The French government intends to continue this test in Paris and a similar test in Lyon over the coming months. Easymile will supply its buses for testing in other countries as well, with road tests planned for Singapore and Japan.
New tests are happening every day in autonomous vehicles, with the UK putting its first autonomous car on the road last week, perhaps showcasing a much greater range of applications for autonomous vehicles.
As this technology develops, it is expected that public transport might outweigh private ownership of self-driving vehicles, and this step could be the beginning of that plan.