A world first in Val Thorens
Built by Navya, this 100% electric and autonomous 15-passenger shuttle bus is the first of its kind to be used in a ski resort. In conjunction with transport operator Berto, Navya hand-picked Val Thorens, at an altitude of 2,300 metres to trial the revolutionary shuttle.
Cities such as Lyon are already equipped with this type of shuttle bus, but it is a world first for a winter sports resort!
A technologocial wonder
In somewhere as buzzing as a ski resort, it was important to take all the necessary precautions with regards passenger safety.
Equipped with 12 sensors and 4 cameras, the vehicle can analyse its environment and take any safety measures required should an obstacle appear along its route: a horn will sound to make its presence known. If the obstacle remains in its way, the shuttle will stop 3 metres from it, and wait until the road is clear before moving again.
The test phases, which began on Tuesday the 19th of February 2019, will allow the vehicle’s reactions to mountain conditions such as slope, snow and ice to be observed. For improved efficiency in the mountain setting, Navya designed the shuttle as a 4-wheel drive (the first of its kind!), with 4 snow tyres. A supply of studded tyres is also available in the event of particularly difficult conditions.
Why the need for an autonomous shuttle bus in Val Thorens ?
Offering its visitors innovative solutions is in the resort’s DNA. Val Thorens has always been one technological step ahead in terms of transporting people on the ski area: in 1990, with the help of Denis Cressel, the first funitel in the history of ski lifts was installed here.
In 2007, the resort also added two ESO "driverless" gondola lifts to its provision. Almost fully automated, even if the presence of an operator is still required, the lifts can run on their own, thanks to a system of lasers and sensors. The blueprint for autonomous transport perhaps? ;)
Val Thorens’ ability to commit to and support new projects led to it being awarded the label of "Smart ski resort" – making it an obvious choice for trial running this shuttle bus. After this trail phase, which began on the 19th of February, the aim is to operate the vehicle on Val Thorens’ roads. In addition to the "more traditional" shuttle buses (with a driver), Navya’s version will make a loop of 9 stops. A safety operator will be on board at all times to take manual control if necessary, whilst also maintaining a close relationship with resort visitors, which is essential.
So, are you ready to step into the future in Val Thorens?