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40% of the kilometres travelled will be autonomous by 2030, according to a survey conducted by the audit firm PwC. While many consider it a futuristic mode of transport, the autonomous vehicle has never been so much a part of our daily lives… And it will take an even more important place in the short term, in the 2020s.

A driving aid that already flirts with automation

Even before mentioning totally autonomous vehicles, it must be said that our cars offer ever more advanced driving assistance. On high-end references such as the Peugeot 508 SW that we saw at the Paris Motor Show, the systems developed can maintain a good trajectory on the highway, and manage traffic jams as long as the driver is there to supervise. These technologies, which are of course of interest to all manufacturers, will soon be part of the offers available on new vehicles between 2020 and 2022.

In addition, some automations already exist on the models in circulation. This is the case with emergency automatic braking, which stops the vehicle without human intervention after detecting an obstacle. Mandatory since 1 November 2015 on new heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches, this feature also appears on some passenger cars.

The Peugeot 508 SW incorporates advanced driving aids

Autonomous transport in French cities

In several French cities, autonomous vehicles have already been tested and approved. At Lyon Confluence, the Navly shuttle is part of the ecosystem. Launched in September 2016, it was tested for many months on a 1.3 kilometre course.

autonomous shuttle navly
NAVLY, NAVYA’s Autonom Shuttle at Confluence, LYON (FR)

This same shuttle was also made available on the territory of La Défense in Paris, in order to generalize the solution and make it an open transport for all users, to complete the existing offer.

Driverless buses, autonomous shuttles: a growing market all over the world

Google has already travelled the world with its innovative tests proving the ability of autonomous vehicles to travel long distances or react intelligently in an urban context. But in some regions, however, the experimentation phase has been largely overcome: autonomous vehicles are part of everyday life!

The Google Car, Google’s autonomous electric car

In Finland, Helsinki residents board buses without a cockpit, pedal or steering wheel. There is no need to use a real driver for these vehicles, just mobilize one person to press the emergency stop button if necessary. The city was one of the first to test these innovative transports on reduced and low speed sections, to overcome traffic congestion problems and limit greenhouse gas emissions.

On the other side of the world, in China, Google Baidu’s competitor announced the mass production of Apolong, a level 4 autonomous mini bus (complete autonomous driving under certain conditions, with the possibility of driving without anyone to monitor the road).

They are spreading all over the world and manufacturers are ready to integrate them into their offers: by 2022, the government plans to introduce autonomous level 3 vehicles on our roads. In the meantime, many shuttle tests will be carried out in metropolitan areas to deploy their use on a larger scale quickly.