Introducing the NAVYA ARMA Autonomous Shuttle Bus
Innovative vehicle company NAVYA has developed the first autonomous electric vehicle in the world that people can actually buy and use. The ARMA is purpose built to serve as a shuttle bus or taxi and is already being used out in the field with real customers and real passengers.
The ARMA accomplishes this with a combination of GPS, LIDAR, and cameras — pretty standard stuff in the autonomous vehicle world; though, what ARMA has accomplished is quite a feat. As the ARMA drives its route, it records the entire journey and, as it does so, it defines everything along the route — car, pedestrian, curb, etc, in order to drive the route with the highest level of accuracy and safety.
ARMA On the Job
The featured implementation of the ARMA is at the EDF Nuclear Plant of Civaux, where it replaced an antiquated diesel bus. Upgrading to an autonomous electric shuttle bus has turned the tour from a smelly, bumpy, noisy ride into a smooth, quiet journey that feels like it is something pulled forward from the future, or as one passenger said, it is “like being on a magic carpet.”
The halo effect is also important, as passengers touring the EDF Plant walk away from the autonomous shuttle with an improved perception of the plant itself because of the futuristic autonomous electric shuttle bus. As compared to the diesel bus it replaced, the new bus features no vibration (it’s so smooooooth!) and very little noise.
Finally, in addition to providing a better rider experience, the NAVYA ARMA is delivering cost savings vs the previous diesel-powered bus — from reduced maintenance, lower fuel costs, and even the money saved from not having a driver. The ARMA can carry up to 15 passengers at a time and is already transporting over 1,100 people per year over the 220 hectare / 540 acre nuclear plant.
Take a look at the ARMA zooming around the power plant in the video below.
All images and video courtesy NAVYA
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