French autonomous vehicle manufacturer NAVYA has announced that it will establish a new assembly plant in Michigan, the company’s first outside of Europe. The company has partnered with Mcity, a public-private partnership led by the University of Michigan.
NAVYA plans to hire a team of 15 people at its Michigan facility, and hopes to build 20 vehicles there by the end of this year.
NAVYA’s ARMA is a driverless electric public transport vehicle that can carry up to 15 people, and is designed to complement current public transport. It is equipped with numerous sensors and an on-board computing system, enabling it to map its environment, detect obstacles in its path and identify traffic and road signs. It can reach speeds of 28 mph, although this is often limited to 15 mph because of the nature of the sites it typically serves.
The University of Michigan plans to test two ARMAs in a driverless shuttle service beginning this fall.
“Thanks to our strong partnerships with Ann Arbor SPARK, the University of Michigan and the State of Michigan, we decided to choose the Ann Arbor area to establish our US headquarters. The Ann Arbor area offers a lot of possibilities for NAVYA to work with our suppliers and hire high-level professionals,” said NAVYA’s Vice President of Sales Henri Coron.
Michigan has been taking steps to encourage autonomous vehicles on its roads. Last year, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation that allows driverless vehicles to be tested in the state.