© Clément Aubourg

100% autonomous driving with no operator (No Op), a worldwide first

© Clément Aubourg
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PostedFEB. 14, 2023
Words byKeolis
Launching a fleet of 100% autonomous shuttles with no operators? A worldwide first and a feat achieved by Keolis and its partner EasyMile on the SEMA autonomous mobility testing site in Châteauroux.

Context: No Op, a futuristic project

The development of Level 4 “No Op” vehicles represents an ambitious goal for shared mobility: it offers new ways to improve the passenger experience and can solve issues caused by driver shortages. After the launch of Level 3 autonomous shuttles for Groupama Stadium in Lyon, Keolis now aims to expand the use of no operator vehicles in all types of traffic. Level 4 autonomy tests are an essential step in preparing for these vehicles’ future on the roads in total safety.

© Clément Aubourg

© Clément Aubourg

Innovation: 3rd generation autonomous shuttles tested at SEMA

Based in France, EasyMile, the global leader in smart mobility solutions and no operator technology, is currently the only company that has achieved the level of safety necessary to develop No Op for public transit. For 18 months, Keolis tested two of EasyMile’s 3rd generation fully autonomous shuttles. The trials, which notably focused on the navigation software and safety systems, were carried out at SEMA, in the National Shooting Center (CNTS) of Châteauroux, a unique private site that is closed to vehicle traffic, offering the ideal testing conditions. 300 hours of driving with an operator and 77 in No Op mode were conducted during these trials.

EasyMile: the only company authorized to develop No Op for public transport


month of experimentation of No Op at SEMA


hours of driving with operator during SEMA tests


hours of driving in No Op mode during the SEMA tests

As part of these trials on December 6, the two autonomous shuttles transported visitors for the first time on the CNTS site, during the inauguration of a new building. Working from a supervision center in Paris, a Keolis agent maintained the ability to stop and restart the vehicle at any time. Passengers also had the opportunity to communicate with the supervisor through a system of intercoms and camaras installed in the vehicle.

No Op test at SEMA
No Op test at SEMA

The benefits of No Op demonstrated in total safety

During the next sports events hosted by the CNTS shooting center, EasyMile’s autonomous shuttles will transport spectators and athletes between the main parking lot and the shooting booths. This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of No Op… in total safety, as an operator will inspect the vehicles before each use and stand ready to take action for the slightest problem.

No Op test at SEMA

EasyMile's autonomous shuttles will transport spectators and athletes to upcoming sporting events hosted by the CSTC.

Next steps: rolling out autonomous vehicles in downtown areas

While EasyMile’s autonomous shuttles are on track to “participate” in their way in the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, Keolis aims above all to roll out these no operator services in downtown areas by 2025. The Group’s ambition is to offer several specific lines in addition to its existing transit offer.