Driving in Paris is a hassle. Hitching a ride in Paris, ditto. And biking? Let’s not even get started. But one company thinks that they may have found a solution.
The Parisian government has just given the automobile company Valeo permission to street test a new model of driverless, autonomous cars in Paris. One Financial Times journalist, David Keohane, decided to take the risk himself by riding alongside Valeo CEO Jacques Aschenbroich on one of these test runs. And the complications are easy to see off the bat — Paris is infamous for its tiny, winding, cobblestoned streets, which are a nightmare for even the most proficient taxi drivers to navigate. But this Valeo Drive4U is built to handle it. Valeo’s main focus is not to build cars, but to design new tech that can be incorporated into existing models. Sensors, software, and GPS are all part of this package, adding up to what must be one very expensive green-and-white guinea pig.
It could be years before France allows the sale and use of these cars city- and nation-wide, but this is definitely a big step forward in the tech arena, and one that could make a big difference in the country’s bid to be one of Europe’s new tech and business giants.