4 autonomous vehicles on a road at SEMA

At SEMA, Keolis is testing out the future of autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles at SEMA
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PostedMAR. 10, 2022
Words byKeolis
    The Autonomous Mobility Testing Site (SEMA), the only one of its kind in the global transport industry, offers Keolis the perfect conditions to test – in the same place – many different models of autonomous vehicles with no operator.

    Context: A transition towards “No Op” autonomous driving

    The autonomous mobility services of Keolis have transported more than 210,000 people worldwide: in Montreal, Renmark in Australia, Lille, Rennes and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The goal: autonomous driving with no operator (“No Op”) which requires thorough testing, notably to ensure remote supervision of the autonomous vehicle, communication with passengers and also the management of automatic and maintenance alerts.

    Innovation: SEMA, a testing site dedicated to autonomous vehicles

    To carry out these tests, a space dedicated to autonomous driving in real situations was set up on the site of the National Shooting Sports Center (CNTS) near Châteauroux in central France. This “Autonomous Mobility Testing Site” (SEMA) – which makes Keolis a pioneering transport operator on the world stage – comprises 78 hectares (193 acres) of sports facilities and nearly 5 km of road. It offers the perfect conditions for storing, recharging and resting a wide variety of autonomous vehicles.

    A variety of tracks make it possible to test vehicles in different traffic conditions, including in: rural areas, intersections, connected traffic lights, indoor tracks, parking lots and bottlenecks. A testing area and predefined scenarios allow teams to test the various autonomous vehicle technologies offered by carmakers and to train Keolis teams on different vehicles in safe conditions.

    4 autonomous vehicles on a road at SEMA

    Benefits: strengthening expertise to prepare for future rollouts

    There are currently 5 levels of vehicle autonomy: starting with level 4, there is no need for an operator on board. This is the level that Keolis is testing with different vehicles at SEMA.

    The Group is strengthening its expertise on the road to full autonomy. A vehicle is said to be fully autonomous when it is equipped with a secure automated driving system requiring no human intervention, it can transport passengers in total safety and it does not pose a threat to other road users.

    While training teams of operators and supervisors in autonomous vehicles, these tests help to better understand the operation of each technology and to test the limits of their operational applications. With SEMA, Keolis is notably in touch with autonomous vehicle makers so that their new models can be tested and evaluated, notably in preparation for future calls for bids.

    3 autonomous vehicles on a road at SEMA


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    hours of road time at SEMA



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    traveled on the testing site


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    types of vehicles tested

    Next steps: operational services starting in 2022

    The Easy Mile Gen 3 autonomous shuttles will run in “No Op” mode on the SEMA site starting in 2022. This will be the first operational “No Op” service for Keolis. As part of the French SAM project, financed by ADEME, this first project for full autonomy with passengers will later be placed in service during competitions, notably for the Paralympic Shooting World Championship, which will take place in June 2022 at the National Shooting Sports Center (CNTS). Finally, Keolis will be the first operator to test an autonomous version of the 6-meter Bluebus by Bolloré, in order to greenlight its development.