PARIS — A fleet of driverless electric city shuttle buses to be deployed later this year in London will use Group Michelin's Acorus flexible-wheel technology to deal with rough roads.
Lyon, France-based autonomous vehicle maker Navya S.A.S. will provide the autonomous buses to be used in London. Since they were first introduced in 2015, the firm has provided 60 of the vehicles that have been used in Las Vegas, Singapore, Sydney, Paris and Lyon, Michelin said.
To address the issue of defects and obstacles on the road, Navya approached the French tire maker. Michelin suggested the Acorus flexible wheel technology, which was already industrialized and developed in partnership with Maxion Wheels.
Maxion and Michelin unveiled the technology in September.
The wheel, which incorporates flexible rubber flanges, intended to absorb impacts from potholes and curbs and so improve ride and comfort.
The design, the firm said, comprises an alloy rim that is narrower than normal, two rubber flanges and an optional cosmetic insert to protect the alloy wheel.
It is compatible with all tires on the market, according to Michelin.
Michelin also is working with Navya on the French start-up's "next-generation" robot-taxi, the Autonom Cab. According to the tire maker, the vehicle is expected to be on the roads by the third quarter 2018. It can take up to six passengers and drive at speeds of up to 55 mph.