Matthias Vanoni, acting CEO at Reva2, on plans to put on-demand self-driving pods on the streets of Nice, in the south of France, by 2025… using clever blue lines.
“We have problems with cars, in that there are too many of them in our cities, bringing pollution, traffic jams and parking space shortages,” he said.
“One solution is to switch from everyone having a personal car to mobility as a service (MAAS). We saw the success of Uber in that direction. But still, it’s costly, and the driver represents around 70% of the cost.
“Electric self-driving cars can bring affordable mobility to the masses, driving a massive transition away from personal vehicles. Withdrawing a lot of the cars from cities means less co2 emissions and less traffic, much better from a climate change point of view.
“The traditional car manufacturers talk about making their cars drive themselves anytime, anywhere. They have spent hundreds of billions pushing for level five autonomy, and it has not been successful.
“Look at the comments of people like Anthony Levandowski (formerly of Google’s Waymo). It’s too big a moonshot to have self-driving cars everywhere.
“That’s why the founder of Reva2, Raoul Parienti, came up with this more humble idea: The Blue Line System. Limit self-driving to the city and do it using a blue line painted onto the road, embedded with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips for positioning.”
“This way you no longer need GPS or artificial intelligence,” he continued. “You reduce it to one dimension – you ask the car to follow the blue line, like a tramway. It is an infinitely simpler solution, and the cars can synchronise into a vehicle train using secure wireless connections.
“We had the patent for that in 2007. From 2022, we have a new patent allowing the car to follow digital lines. An advantage being that this covers the blue line being distorted or covered by snow.
“Make a Reva2 booking on your smartphone and a vehicle will come to you automatically, within minutes, and drop you at your desired destination.
“We have partnered with a specialised concept car company in the south of France to make the first six cars. We also have another partner for delivering the first 12km of blue lines.”
“The mayor of Nice is very much an ambassador for our solution, and we are in discussion with the French government and others to get funding in place to launch a pilot there.
“The plan is for this phase to be completed by the end of 2026, and then we industrialise. The Nice metropolis has a population of around half a million people, so the full solution would involve around 7,500 cars.
“We are already in discussion with larger French cities, like Marseille, too, and beyond that we will look at licences to operate in other countries, such as the UK.”
For further info see www.reva2.eu