A new milestone in modern transportation was reached this week as NAVYA, a global leader in the development, conception and deployment of 100% autonomous and fully electric shuttles (see Autovolt issue 17, Mar-Apr 2017), announced that it will open its first operations office in the United States in down-town Chicago. This marks the first NAVYA operations office outside of the company’s home of Lyon, France.
Following the overwhelmingly positive industry response to the debut of the NAVYA ARMA shuttle at the 2017 CES show this January and subsequent consumer and municipal response of the public demonstration of the NAVYA ARMA in the down-town Las Vegas Freemont Experience, NAVYA executives decided the time was right to establish itself permanently in the Unites States.
“NAVYA is committed to being a deeply invested partner for American transit alternatives. The NAVYA ARMA delivers public mobility solutions that are both autonomous and sustainable and provide viable first and last mile transportation for both public and private enterprise applications,” said NAVYA CEO Christophe Sapet. “To deliver that, we need a base of operations in the U.S. and Chicago is ideal as it’s both a city that believes in public transportation and provides our team with a centralised location in the country.”
By the end of 2017, NAVYA plans to have five staff working in the office located in the Ravenswood district of Chicago. Roles will include sales managers, customer relations managers, and project coordinators. The company is currently evaluating a number of cities to establish a new production facility in the United States, as NAVYA projects robust future growth for its NAVYA ARMA shuttle in North America.
NAVYA began testing the NAVYA ARMA for service in North America at MCity, the University of Michigan’s unique test site for connected and automated vehicles in December 2016, showcasing the vehicle publicly in the United States for the first time at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas.
Since first deploying the NAVYA ARMA in France in late 2015, the vehicles have transported more than 130,000 people and have grown to have a fleet of 35 ARMA’s in use in nine countries around the world, including the United States, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Qatar and Australia.