Navya will stop making shuttles. Is "last mile" robo shuttle actually a good idea?


Navya (formerly Navia) was the real pioneer of the robocar business, over 5 years ago they started actually selling their low speed shuttles, with no brakes or steering wheel, for campus use. They've been doing a lot of experiments since then as a "last mile" shuttle as well. But they announced this week they don't think they will get regulatory approval any time soon -- their shuttles still run with a human monitor with a kill switch -- and will get out of trying to sell physical shuttles and into selling the design and software stack.

In this new article, I talk about this and examine the question of whether autonomous shuttles on fixed routes, especially "last mile to transit" shuttles, where ever a good idea. They just eliminate a driver and save some money, and they don't even save money yet.

Read Navya pulls back on robo-shuttles, but were they a good idea?


"But the one thing not to do is imagine they are just some adjunct for 20th century transportation, any more than the purpose of cars was to get you to your horse."
If your horse is at a remote stable ... then yes, the purpose of cars is to get you to your horse. That's not what you mean, but that's literally what cars are for for some people.

When I wrote it, I debated if somebody would respond that way, but I don't think this claim can be taken seriously. On rare occasions, a very small number of people use their car (which they mostly use for other things) to get to their stable. That doesn't contradict what I said. It is not what "the car is for."

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