Navya, a French autonomous driving company with a production site in Saline, south of Ann Arbor, has equipped a hospital in Israel with an autonomous shuttle service.
Sheba Medical Center, located near Tel Aviv, has integrated an Autonom Shuttle into its Sheba Bus shuttle service to transport passengers around the campus. Part of the Smart Mobility Initiative under the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, the pilot is led by the Israel Innovation Authority and Israel Ministry of Transport, in cooperation with ST Engineering.
The project will be operated in collaboration with autonomous solutions startup Blue White Robotics. Navya is providing the autonomous driving systems as well as the electric shuttle and associated services. Israel is the 23rd country in which Navya is deploying its solutions.
“I am very pleased with this first public deployment in Israel, especially since our systems are implemented within a complex path,” says Etienne Hermite, CEO of Navya. “I am also delighted that our partnership with ST Engineering is being extended to Israel, which is a ‘start-up nation’ always at the forefront of the latest technological innovations, with a strong potential”.
The route is a loop about 2.1 km (1.3 miles) long and serves the main hospital buildings, sharing the road with existing bus lines. Any person on the hospital site can use the service, and there are seven shuttle stops.
The shuttle operates in a complex environment that includes buses, taxis, cars, bikes, motorbikes, and more. It runs close to large car parks, passes under bridges and between tall buildings, uses four roundabouts, and crosses more than 20 pedestrian crossings.
The service is expected to continue after the initial deployment, and additional shuttles could join the site with potential future paths.
Navya was founded in 2015, and the Autonom Shuttle, its main development axis, was launched the same year. Nearly 170 units have been sold as of June 30, 2020, notably in the U.S., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia.