Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister for Mobility
We are making an investment in the future, in greater efficiency and in a more attractive range of public transport.
Following assignments by Bluewaters Island (Dubai) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Brussels Airport and De Lijn have decided to partner with 2getthere for the Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle. 2getthere’s fully autonomous (self-driving) shuttles will link Brussels Airport with the long term parking area. Brussels Airport is the first European airport to use autonomous shuttles in fully mixed traffic. The vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2021, after an intensive pilot phase, starting in 2019. Four other constructors were in the race for this highly desirable assignment. Please find below the joint Press Release by Brussels Airport and De Lijn.
Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle
The board of directors of De Lijn and the management committee of Brussels Airport Company have given the go-ahead for the first phase with a self-driving electric bus on the airport. The vehicle that is being developed for this, will be one of the first to drive in Belgium in mixed traffic. After the summer of 2019, tests without passengers will begin at 2getthere’s testsite in Utrecht. The shuttle bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further tests.
In 2015, Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn entered into a partnership with the intent to deploy self-driving shuttles at the airport. After further study and the choice of the constructor, both companies gave full support to the pilot project for testing an autonomous shuttle on the airport grounds.
“As intermodal hub where various means of transport connect seamlessly with each other, Brussels Airport is constantly studying new possibilities for expanding this hub in a sustainable way. This technologically innovative project deploying a self-driving electric bus operating a fixed route, also fits in with our environmental commitment to keep the impact on our surroundings as low as possible”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.
“Flanders is taking on the role of pioneer”, says Flemish Minister for Mobility Ben Weyts. “In other countries driverless vehicles are already operational, but that is often in a separate lane with a steward on board. Here, the aim is to have the self-driving shuttle drive autonomously on the public roads. This is cutting-edge technology that really appeals to the imagination. We are making an investment in the future, in greater efficiency and in a more attractive range of public transport.”
2 year tests
2getthere will start the project in the coming weeks. The contract is divided into two phases. The first phase covers the development and thorough testing of the technology until the middle of 2020. In autumn 2019, 2getthere will be conducting the first vehicle tests at its testsite in Utrecht. Upon successful completion, the first self-driving bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further test drives at the airport. The test route for this development stage is in the Brucargo business zone.
The first phase with tests and development of the self-driving bus will take two years. In this period, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can perform all necessary safety tests in various weather conditions and traffic situations. During the test period, no passengers, visitors or staff will be on board.
Passengers by 2021
Upon a positive evaluation of the first phase of testing, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can deploy the self-driving shuttle from 2021 onwards on the airport grounds for the transport of passengers, visitors and staff on the route between the terminal and Brucargo.
Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn are sharing the project costs. De Lijn is responsible for the costs associated with people who travel by public transport (De Lijn, MIVB, NMBS) to the airport. The airport operator will foot the costs for the transport of persons who come to the airport by other means of transport (staff, visitors or passengers).