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6 Mission-critical info for UST professionals Platform one December/January 2018 | Unmanned Systems Technology Navya in France is building on the technical experience of its autonomous shuttle with a design for a fully autonomous taxi for public roads (writes Nick Flaherty). The Autonom platform adds radar and improved Lidar sensors to provide enough data to enable it operate at a maximum speed of 90 kph (56 mph), although it is actually expected to travel at around 55 kph. The taxi has no steering wheel or operator controls, so it will have to be certified to Level 5 (fully autonomous) operation. The first demonstration of the platform on public roads is expected in Las Vegas in January 2018 at the CES trade show. The Navya Shuttle is already running autonomously on selected roads in the city. “We have made two main changes,” said Christoph Sabet at Navya. “The first one of course is the speed. If you want to have the vehicle in the usual flow of vehicles you need to increase the speed to 50-70 kph, and that needs more certificated sensors – that’s why we changed a lot of things in the Lidar architecture. “We also improved the cameras and introduced radar so that by combining the three sources we can bring safety to the architecture.” There are also six cameras around the vehicle, the data from which is combined by a VPX2 board from Nvidia. The Autonom will use high-definition maps that could be generated by a manned vehicle driving around a city. The mapping data is combined with high-accuracy GNSS satellite navigation using RTK correction data sent over the existing 4G cellular network. Two antennas provide redundancy and higher reliability across a 20 km area. Navya has also added V2X wireless links to roadside infrastructure. This is being tested by a partner, Lacroix, at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and on Siemens traffic lights in Switzerland. “With the new vehicle we need to have automatic mapping around streets at the beginning,” said Sabet. “We will be experimenting in April to June 2018 in big cities to train the platform, but it’s not clear yet whether that will be in Lyon or Paris – perhaps both. “Other cities will be one in the US, to be announced at CES, and one in Western Australia, possibly Perth. Whether the mapping data will be generated in-house using a camera on the roof of a vehicle, by the vehicle itself or we buy this kind of data has still be decided. “Mapping based on data from the Lidar sensors is not commercially available though, so we will need to do that in- house.” The company plans to manufacture the platform at a new site in Lyon. It will also have an assembly plant in Detroit. Driverless vehicles Navya to go public with taxi Navya’s Autonom taxi will have automatic mapping of public roads from the outset