A world first to Val Thorens

Built by the company Navya, with a capacity of 15 people, this 100% electric shuttle is also entirely autonomous. And it’s at an altitude of 2300m, in the resort of Val Thorens, that the manufacturer and its operator Berto have chosen to install the very first autonomous shuttle in a ski resort.

If certain cities like Lyon already have shuttles of this type, it is a world first to test this type of technology in a winter sports resort!

Autonomous shuttle

A concentrate of technology

In an environment as bustling with activity as a ski resort, it was essential to take all the necessary precautions for the safety of users.

The vehicle, equipped with 12 sensors and 4 cameras, is capable of analyzing its environment and taking measures based on obstacles that appear on its route: in the presence of an obstacle on its path, the vehicle signals its arrival with audible warnings. If the obstacle does not move out of its path, it stops 3m from it, and waits until the way is clear before resuming its course.

Touch screen of the autonomous shuttle

The test phases, which began this Tuesday, February 19, 2019, will make it possible to observe the vehicle's reactions to mountain conditions: slope, snow, ice, etc. For greater efficiency in mountain environments, the shuttle has was specially equipped by its manufacturer Navya with 4-wheel drive (the first of its kind!), and equipped with 4 snow tires. A reserve of studded tires is also available in case of particularly difficult conditions.

Autonomous shuttle

Why an autonomous shuttle Val Thorens ? 

It is in the very DNA of the resort to offer its visitors ever more innovative offers. Historically, the station Val Thorens has always been at the forefront of technological innovation for the transport of people in the ski area: in 1990, with the collaboration of Denis Cressel, the first funitel in the history of ski lifts was installed in the Savoyard area.

The resort also acquired, in 2007, two ESO “Operation Without Operator” gondolas. The installation is largely automated, and even if an operator is always present, the gondola is able to rotate on its own thanks to a system of lasers and sensors. Perhaps already the beginnings of autonomous transport? 😉

The ability to Val Thorens to engage and support innovative projects made the resort described as a “Smart ski resort” an obvious choice for testing this shuttle. At the end of this testing phase which began on February 19, the objective is to launch the vehicle on the Val Thorin roads. In addition to the “more traditional” shuttles (i.e. with a driver), the Navya shuttle will circulate in the station around a loop of 9 stops. Of course, an operator will be constantly present on board to take over manual controls if necessary, but also to maintain this close relationship with visitors which is dear to the station.

So, ready to take a step into the future Val Thorens ?

Autonomous shuttle

More information on the autonomous shuttle: https://navette-autonome.fr/navette-autonome-berto-en-montagne-5-points-essentiels/


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