Listed French firm NAVYA has launched its first autonomous shuttle service on UK roads.

The self-driving vehicles will transport employees and visitors around the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire 24/7.

The 700-acre campus hosts more than 6,000 people and 240 public and private organisations in space, renewable energy and health.

The experiment is being conducted in partnership with the insurer AVIVA, which is developing insurance for autonomous vehicles, and operated by DARWIN, a British company specialising in the application of cutting-edge technological research in the field of terrestrial and satellite communications.

DARWIN’s focus is to enable reliable connectivity on the move by combining terrestrial and satellite communications, with the aid of the European Space Agency, mobile provider O2 and satellite operator HISPASAT.

“We are delighted to have registered NAVYA’s purpose-built connected autonomous shuttle for use on publicly accessible roads at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire,” said Sophia Ward, operations manager at DARWIN. 

“This is a significant regulatory milestone on the road to making CAV mobility a reality, and an exciting step on our innovative journey to realising the potential of ubiquitous communications. 

“We now look forward to announcing future trials involving this exciting new technology soon.”

Pierre Lahutte, CEO of NAVYA, commented: “We are very pleased to be part of this trial at the renowned Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. This new deployment allows NAVYA to strengthen its technology with an additional use case in a complex environment and to contribute to the development of insurance practices for autonomous vehicles.”