Today, cities, airports, and industrial sites are facing challenges in traffic conditions, costs, safety, and productivity. In addition, private sites are also facing mobility difficulties and are confronted with urban transport ecosystem and economic, social, and environmental challenges. It has become crucial to find solutions to all these challenges.
A shift from personal vehicles to self-driving vehicles seems to solve these dilemmas, as they optimize transport time and traveling conditions. Self-driving vehicles can reduce carbon footprint, parking problems, and labor-intensive tasks, enhance company image, productivity, and site safety, and explores logistics models for tomorrow.
Making self-driving solutions a reality- Navya is reinventing the transportation systems of tomorrow. Navya is the leading name in the supply of autonomous driving systems and associated services. The company is reshaping the transportation systems, for passengers and goods.
We, at CIO Look, caught up with Pierre Lahutte, Chief Executive Officer of Navya to know more about the company and how it is empowering businesses and communities with its self-driving solutions
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Give us a brief overview of your company, its mission, and the key aspects of its strong foothold in the automotive industry.
Created in 2014, Navya is a leading name specialized in the supply of autonomous driving systems and associated services. With 280 employees in France, the United States, and Singapore, Navya aims to become the leading player in level 4 autonomous driving systems for passenger and goods transport.
Since 2015, Navya autonomous mobility solutions have been first to market and first to on-road service. The Autonom® Shuttle, the main development platform, is dedicated to passenger transport. Since its launch, more than 180 units have been sold in 23 countries, as of 31 December 2020. The Autonom® Tract is designed for goods transport.
Describe your top-notch offerings that address the need of your customers.
For passengers’ transportation, we provide:
- The Autonom® shuttle launched in 2015. It is our main company product. It is Electric, Shared, and Autonomous. It carries up to 15 passengers and drives at a maximum of 18km/h in operation. It has a 9 hours average run time, and no heavy infrastructure is needed. It improves the transportation systems for cities and private sites
- The Autonom® shuttle EVO launched in 2020. EVO is for the Evolution of our Autonom® Shuttle, the outcome of six years of experimentation and nearly 200 Navya deployments around the world.
For Goods transport, we provide the Autonom® Tract. Navya has partnered with Charlatte Manutention, Group Fayat’s subsidiary dedicated to electric and fuel handling equipment for airports and industry, to create an autonomous tractor solution in order to improve logistics flows for airports and industrial sites. First proof of concepts in 2020-21. Commercialization in 2022. These 3 platforms work the same way thanks to:
- Navya’s in-house advanced intelligent software: Navya Drive®
- Combined with our specific multi-sensors architecture.
Navya’s solutions are actually Level3 on the SAE scale. Our ambition is to reach level4 for all our platforms. We also adapt the Navya Drive® on any drive-by-wire vehicle platform manufactured by a third-party. Finally, we also offer a full range of value-added services:
- Commissioning and mapping
- Supervision and fleet monitoring platform
- Technical support
What makes your company a preferred choice among your clientele over other competitors?
With dozens of thousand kilometers driven every month worldwide in different use cases, a specific environment, constraints, and regulation frameworks enable Navya to progress constantly and quickly.
These signs of progress are regularly injected in our Navya Drive® software, and enable our customers worldwide to also demonstrate constant progress in their operations.
Besides, Navya has won the “Best Endurance & Reliability” and “Best Consumer Experience”, two out of three of the best awards at the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport organized by the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) (October 2019).
What are the achievements you are proud of?
NAVYA won the “Best Endurance & Reliability” and “Best Consumer Experience” awards at the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport organized by the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) (October 2019)
- We took a new step in autonomous mobility with the first fully autonomous level 4 operation on a closed site in Châteauroux, France (June 2020)
- World first: an autonomous luggage vehicle, named Autonom® Tract, transports goods in real conditions (2019)
- 5 million euros of subsidies will be received within the framework of the France Reliance program, for four of Navya’s technological projects
From a business leadership perspective, what is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the automotive sector and the related market?
The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the mobility sector, especially on long-distance journeys with a strong local rebound and a focus even more important on CO2 and gas emissions.
By being shared, electric, self-driving, and on-demand, our solutions are an answer to mobility decarbonization. They are also a solution for first and last-mile distances.
In your opinion, what could be the future of the automotive market post the COVID-19 pandemic? And how are you strategizing your company’s operations for that future?
The future of the automotive market will be electric, shared, autonomous; solutions that Navya is already providing through its shuttles and keeps working on improving it.
In what ways have you or your company contributed to the community?
The autonomous vehicle has several advantages: reduction in pollution, lower transport cost for operators and municipalities, greater services, reduction of accidents, inclusive transport for communities not well served by public transportation, reduction of parking spaces in the city centre, etc. The VA also makes it possible to fluidify traffic, to relieve congestion in cities by reducing traffic jams.
What are your future aspirations? Where do you see your company in the next five years?
All studies tend to demonstrate that the first use cases for large AV fleets deployments will be for shared transportation on sites with simple Level 4 driving cases and a stable environment at limited speed. With that in mind, we firmly believe that Navya will be a key player in the future of transportation.