City Automated Transport System (CATS): the Legacy of an Innovative European Project



City Automated Transport System (CATS): the Legacy of an Innovative European Project

Authors

Derek P. T. H. Christie, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, Anne Koymans, Bestmile, EPFL Innovation Park, Lausanne, Thierry Chanard, GEA architects-urbanists, Lausanne

Description

CATS is a European FP7 project including a 3-week demonstration of driverless vehicles in Lausanne, Switzerland. This contribution describes the demonstration and comments on the future of automated vehicles in the European context.

Abstract

CATS is a European FP7 project which ended on 31 December 2014. It included a 3-week demonstration of automatic, driverless vehicles on the campus site of EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. This contribution explains how the project evolved over 4 years until the demonstration took place, and what can be considered for the future of automated vehicles in the European context.

The project evolved in an unexpected manner, because in the middle of the project timeline the constructor and vehicle had to be changed. Then, towards the end of the project, the demonstration had to be moved from Strasbourg to Lausanne.

Technical tests on the vehicles performed in Strasbourg (Illkirch) led to substantial progress in the approval process of autonomous vehicles on the public domain. Following a meeting with the French ministries in late 2013, the Urban Community of Strasbourg received the first authorization to operate a fleet of autonomous vehicles on the public domain.

Following this test period, the demonstration was moved to the campus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne (Switzerland), in order to favour a more protected environment for the second phase of the demonstration, which was open to the general public.

The demonstration was open to the public on 10-31 July after receiving authorization from the competent Swiss authorities on 9 July. The evaluation focuses on the second half of the period, 21-31 July.

Altogether 800 people were transported during the 8 days of the evaluation. In total, the vehicles travelled for 16 days, so around 1600 people were transported altogether.

181 questionnaires were completed by users during the two weeks of assessment. Most users were males (66 %) while only a third were females (34 %). This is only slightly more unbalanced than the gender split on campus, where 27 % of students and 31 % of personnel are female.

70% of the respondents were in the age groups of 20-30 years or 30-50 years, with 64 representatives for each age bracket. The number of respondents aged over 64 or between 10 and 20 is around 15 in each case. Moreover, none of the respondents is less than 10 years old although many users were families with young children. The children did not respond to the questionnaire as such, but many of them participated in the assessment via their parents.

The CATS project has shown that Switzerland is a favourable environment for the development and showcasing of innovative transport systems, in a constructive partnership with other European countries. Work on driverless vehicles continues, in the context of other projects also supported by the European Union.

Publisher

Association for European Transport