Self-driving cars are now closer to reality than ever before. The days of prototypes and concepts are gone and the world can finally meet the first commercially available driverless car. French company Induct has unveiled its new Navia shuttle at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.
With a cost of around $250,000, the shuttle is able to carry eight people and can be summoned using your smartphone or laptop. The Navia shuttle is a zero-emissions vehicle with a top speed of 12.5 mph and users can select their destination via an on-board touch screen. The shuttle is not yet meant for urban use but rather aimed for use in airports, university campuses, stadiums and arenas. Navia uses an array of lasers to detect obstacles in its path instead of GPS like many other self-driving cars.
Induct claims that the car is different from others because it is “intelligent, self-sufficient and environmentally friendly.” With Navia, shuttle services can reduce their costs by 40 to 60 percent. The main objective of Induct is revealed by the company’s chief executive, Pierre Lefevre, who says, “Imagine a city without noisy, polluting buses, replaced by environmentally-friendly, robotic shuttle buses that can be summoned by your mobile phone….Navia is completely self-driving, 100 per cent electric, emission-free, safe and simple to use. It is the ideal solution for taking pedestrians that ‘last mile’”.
Induct has beaten companies such as Google and Tesla by being the first to make a self-driving vehicle available to the market. The future for this small French company and for the self-driving car appear to be very bright as Navia paves the way for other such vehicles to come over the next few years.