The EZ10 shuttles, built by EasyMile, will run between Austerlitz and Gare de Lyon train stations in the 12th arrondissement of France’s capital, operating seven days a week from 2pm until 8pm.
The vehicles, which are 100 percent electric and recharged at night, feature six seats for passengers. The test will run until April 7.
“The advent of driverless driving technologies now opens up new outlooks and will make it possible to give far more space to soft and electric modes of transport. The experiment conducted by RATP is a strong signal. It is a new service made available to Parisians and our visitors,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a press release.
— Groupe RATP (@GroupeRATP) January 23, 2017
As part of the experiment, the Paris transport authority will elicit reactions from passengers about the new service, and suggestion to improve it. Data will also be collected on the performance, reliability, supervision and operating safety of the shuttles.
Paris is not the first city to offer driverless vehicles to the public. Singapore began a pilot in August where select members of the public could hail a self-driving taxi through their smartphones. The operator of the taxis, nuTonomy, claimed at the time to be the first to offer rides in driverless cabs to the public.
A few weeks after Singapore’s announcement, Uber launched its autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, in the U.S.
These projects are the first minor steps on the road to bring driverless cars to the world. The Paris shuttles crawl along at a desperately slow pace and only run between two set destinations. But by testing these types of controlled, limited projects with the public, vital information can be gathered, and acceptance from a skeptical public can be nurtured.