The city of Las Vegas will be home to a two-week autonomous shuttle trial starting today, according to a report from The Las Vegas Sun. The shuttle is a small 12-person vehicle known as Arma, similar in appearance to Google’s original driverless car prototype, and it’s developed by a French company called Navya. The shuttle will offer free rides from 10AM to 6PM down Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street. While the car is capable of driving itself at up to 27 mph, the trial period will cap the vehicles’ top speed at 12 mph.
While it is only a trial for now, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman hopes to have a fleet of Arma vehicles operating in the city as soon as this summer or by early fall. The expectation would be that Navya’s $10,000-per-month service could be offset with advertising, which could be plastered on the side of the shuttles and displayed on screens within the vehicle itself. Goodman says an ideal situation would be making rides on an Arma free for city residents.
Navya got the trial green lit by collaborating with the city of Las Vegas and Keolis, the largest private transport company in France. Navya has had its self-driving shuttles operating in Paris since October of 2015, and the company just raised $34 million in funding, including an investment from Keolis, to expand its services. Las Vegas would mark the first US city to test and potentially implement Navya’s shuttles.