The Principality of Monaco is about to take another step forward in the implementation of its "Smart Principality" concept, which has been developed by the #ExtendedMonaco programme - an autonomous electric shuttle bus will operate on the Rock this summer, for residents and tourists.
From 3 July to 8 September, access on board will be free, on a circuit of approximately 1 km (0.62 miles) around Monaco Ville, comprising four stops: the Place du Palais Princier, the Cathedral, the Oceanographic Museum and the Place de la Visitation. The shuttle will run every 15 minutes.
This shuttle bus can carry 15 passengers and has 11 seats. It will be operated by the Monegasque Bus Company (CAM) in partnership with the Keolis transport group, which has already undertaken 30 or so autonomous shuttle bus experiments around the world (Paris La Défense, Lyon Confluence, London, Las Vegas, etc.); it is manufactured by the French company Navya, the world market leader, which has more than 60 shuttle buses in operation worldwide.
Passenger safety will be central to this experiment in the summer; a CAM operator will be present, who will be able to regain control of the vehicle at any time by switching to a manual navigation mode.
From 17 June, residents and tourists on the Rock are sure to encounter this connected shuttle bus, which will undergo a series of preparatory tests in situ, as an empty vehicle. On 25 June, a public information day will be held in front of the Oceanographic Museum, in two parts: an information session at a stand run by the Mission for Energy Transition, throughout the day, when any questions from local residents will be answered, and an "open shuttle" operation between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., to enable members of the public to familiarise themselves with this new technology.
A second test in Larvotto in the autumn, aimed at conference delegates
This experiment on the Rock could be extended with a second test in the autumn, which would consist of a circuit on the Avenue Princesse Grace, linking the Grimaldi Forum to the Monte-Carlo Bay, during four events – the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Congress, the Luxe Pack, the Information Security and Systems Conferences (Assises de la Sécurité Informatique) and Sportel.
Use of the autonomous shuttle bus is fully in line with the mobility policy of the Prince's Government, jointly implemented by the Department of Forward Studies, Urban Planning and Mobility and the Interministerial Delegation for Digital Transition. The intention is to broaden the mobility scheme, which consists of ecological, intelligent and connected transport services and means of transport, the aim of which is to facilitate a modal shift towards "soft" and shared mobility. The main objective is to help further enhance the Principality's quality of life and attractiveness over the long term.
This is just the first step in learning about the mobility of the future and preparing the Principality for this mobility. Depending on the results obtained and formalised in an assessment of the experiment, this initiative could be developed further over the years.
The final objective is to implement a regular service based on these technologies, making it possible to offer a "bespoke" response to mobility needs that the bus network cannot meet, or cannot fully meet, with regard to roads that are too narrow, pedestrianised areas, occasional travel demand (for events) and limited travel demand (night service), etc.