This pilot project was launched in 2017 for a period of four years during which two automated shuttles linking the Marly Innovation Center (MIC) quarter to the Fribourg Public Transport (TPF) network were operated. This was the result of a true public-private partnership involving the MIC, the State of Fribourg, the Fribourg Agglomeration, the Municipality of Marly and the TPF. The project made these vehicles the first automated shuttles to be integrated into the regular schedule of a transport company in Switzerland. It has made it possible to transport 17,700 passengers and to cover 47,000 kilometers, representing more than a tour of the Earth. As planned, this project ended in December 2021.
It contributed to the acquisition of many skills and to measure the real stage of development of this technology. The experiment allowed for an analysis of the functional and cyber security of the shuttles thanks to a mandate given to the University of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR). The students were thus able to develop their own knowledge in the field of automated vehicles. For the TPF, it was also a human adventure by measuring the adaptation of the company’s employees to this new technology while doing professional reintegration.
Two surveys conducted in May 2018 and May 2019 among passengers show that the large majority of customers feel safe inside the shuttles. Their use has become completely normal, which was one of the goals of the experiment. 66% of respondents believe that these autonomous vehicles are a solution for the future. Developed and built by the French intelligent mobility specialist NAVYA, these shuttles have been used for four years to test the last mile service. They guaranteed access to the regular TPF network for MIC commuters. An operator ensured the safety of users and accessibility for people with reduced mobility at all times. The shuttle could accommodate 11 passengers.
Further research will show how such solutions can contribute in the future to take on the challenges of sustainable mobility.