The transport authority “Transports Publics Genevois” (tpg) is taking a pioneering role in introducing autonomous on-demand vehicles to the existing public transport system in Geneva. The deployment site selected as part of the ULTIMO project now officially offers on-demand automated shuttle transport, which users can request via the already well-established regional DRT app. Located in the Belle-Idée housing development, a stone’s throw from the French border, the project covers a 38-hectare site with various facilities such as a hospital, a kindergarten, a conference centre and restaurants. At the heart of this innovative project are three autonomous, electrically powered vehicles that take passengers to their desired destinations on demand.
A revolutionary way of getting around
At the Belle-Idée site in Thônex, Canton Geneva, tpg’s automated on-demand transport service offers passengers the chance to experience revolutionary new mobility. Unlike traditional fixed transport lines, users can move freely throughout the Belle Idée site thanks to the autonomous vehicles and their fully flexible configuration. The service will be available from 28 September to 30 November 2023, every Thursday between 10:00 and 14:00. Booking a ride is easy via the tpgFlex mobile app, powered by Padam Mobility, which is available free of charge for iOS and Android. During this test phase, one tpg employee will be on board each of the three autonomous vehicles to ensure safety and compliance.
What distinguishes this AV-DRT operation from other pilot projects with autonomous vehicles is the simultaneity of the “standard” DRT operation involving drivers as well as AV vehicles operating without a “conventional” driver. For the first time in such a project, tpg’s DRT system combines these two operating models.
This public opening follows an initial test phase of autonomous vehicles in Belle-Idée, which took place from 2020 to 2022. It paves the way for the ULTIMO project, which was introduced in December 2022. ULTIMO, funded by the EU and Switzerland, boasts a total budget of €55 million over four years (2022-2026) and is planned for three pilot cities in Europe, including Geneva (Switzerland), Herford (Germany) and Oslo (Norway). The project partners plan to deploy several automated on-demand services in the coming years as a means to improve public transport, especially in sparsely populated areas or off-peak hours.
The Future of Transportation in Geneva
With the roll-out of this first version of the innovative automated on-demand transport service, tpg and their partners are driving transportation in Geneva into the future. This visionary approach combines cutting-edge technology with user-centric flexibility, enhancing accessibility, reducing emissions, and offering a glimpse of what the future holds for public transportation.
About Padam Mobility
Padam Mobility, a key partner in the ULTIMO project, specializes in optimizing shared mobility solutions. Their expertise lies in creating software solutions for on-demand and shared transportation, making them an ideal collaborator for advancing automated on-demand transport services. The in-house project team for automated on-demand services has developed a dedicated solution for the orchestration of AV fleets. This has made Padam Mobility a strong partner not only for DRT projects but also for the deployment of automated fleets. Their technical solutions cover all important steps necessary for the execution of AV projects, from the shift management of vehicles to the booking and registration of passengers on board.
The ULTIMO project is an initiative of the EU and Switzerland and comprises more than 20 project partners from the fields of technology, industry and academia. The partners’ common goal is to integrate large-scale, on-demand and passenger-oriented Automated Vehicle services into the traditional public transport network. To achieve this, diverse cross-sector teams are researching and accompanying the introduction of CCAM (cooperative, connected and automated mobility) systems in selected deployment sites in different locations across Europe.
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