The way we get to work is changing nearly every day now, in the age of innovation. While South Africa has yet to catch up on some of the acceleration, we seem to have a bright future in getting people to and from work in increasingly sophisticated corporate shuttles.

While GoMetro gets SA up to speed, we thought we’d round up some of the news in corporate shuttles for this past week from around the world. Bon voyage…

Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has placed an order for a new all-electric shuttle bus, powered by Motiv Power Systems‘ All-Electric Powertrain, continuing the school’s commitment to sustainability. This zero-emission bus is the first Motiv powered shuttle bus to operate on a university campus. Developed in partnership with Commercial Fleet Financing, the shuttle bus is projected to be delivered in early 2018. The shuttle bus will transport students, patients, and campus visitors between the UCLA Santa Monica and UCLA Westwood health facilities.

“UCLA is leading the way in alternative fuel vehicles, and we’re thrilled to help them further their sustainability goals,” said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. “With predictable routes that allow time for a full recharge, our All-Electric Powertrain is an ideal solution for university campus vehicles, and we look forward to helping more educational institutions realize both the financial and environmental benefits of an all-electric fleet.”

The cost of the shuttle was funded in part by the California Air Resource Board’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). The HVIP grant allowed the purchase of the batteries and electric powertrain, providing UCLA a zero-emission shuttle for the same cost as its fossil fuel counterparts.

UCLA’s shuttle bus will be equipped with a wheelchair lift, space for two wheelchairs, WiFi connectivity and bicycle racks on the outside of the vehicle. Built on Ford’s E450 chassis with a Champion Bus body, the shuttle bus will offer a maximum capacity of 20 passengers, a range of up to 90 miles on a single charge, a 75% charge time of four hours, and a top speed of 60 miles per hour.

“For 22 years, CFF has taken pride in helping commercial fleets grow through financing, consulting and quality recommendations,” said Liam Lucey, President of Commercial Fleet Financing. “With best-in-class safety, range and driving performance, we found Motiv’s All-Electric Powertrain to be an ideal solution for this shuttle bus.”

France

Navya Technologies SAS will roll its robot-driven automobiles onto the cobbled streets of Paris in the next few weeks to try and beat behemoths from General Motors Co. to Alphabet Inc. at proving autonomous cars are safe.

The French startup’s 15-seater driverless shuttles have been dodging bankers and corporate executives in the capital’s business district of La Defense since July. Now, the company backed by investors including car-parts maker Valeo SA is manufacturing a smaller SUV to seat 6, that will start selling for some 250,000 euros ($290,000) in about a year. It unveiled prototypes of the so-called “robotaxi” in Paris Tuesday.

“We’re the first to conceive and manufacture a vehicle that is made to be fully autonomous, instead of adapting an existing car,” Navya Chief Executive Officer Christophe Sapet said in an interview. “We want to be the first company to offer a full comprehensive line-up of autonomous vehicles.”

Australia

An autonomous shuttle trial has kicked off at LaTrobe University in Bundoora – a self-driving Navya bus. Sound familiar?

The trial will be run on an existing transport route at La Trobe, and continues until July 2018. It’s designed to gain a better understanding of how self-driving vehicles interact with other road users and, perhaps more importantly, the general public.

It’s a collaboration between VicRoads, La Trobe University, HMI Technologies, the RACV and the Australia Road Research Board (ARRB). This isn’t the first time these groups have teamed up on an autonomous trial – earlier this year, the RACV and VicRoads announced a semi-autonomous trial along the Eastlink–Tullamarine–CityLink corridor in partnership with BMWVolvoMercedes-Benz and Tesla.

The vehicle being used in trial is a 15-seat shuttle with no steering wheel or pedals, built by French company Navya  similar to the Intellibus recently trialled in Western Australia. Yep, French mobility is everywhere. Just wait ’til you read the next one…

Las Vegas

A low-speed collision with a delivery truck marked the first day of self-driving shuttle buses in Las Vegas. Day One – you’ve kind of got to feel bad for the shuttle.

The autonomous shuttle, which couldn’t go faster than 15 miles per hour, was clipped by a human-driven truck pulling out into the road. The driverless vehicle detected the truck and stopped, according to a report in The Guardian, but didn’t back up to avoid the collision. None of the shuttle passengers were injured. Obviously.

“The shuttle just stayed still,” said one of the eight passengers on the bus.

This one actually sounds like it would have been pretty funny to watch.

The city of Las Vegas is not placing fault on the autonomous vehicle, but rather the human truck driver, who was cited, according to a statement from the city on its Tumblr page. The shuttle is sponsored by AAA and Keolis, a French transportation company. Yep, it’s the French again.

Thailand

As you may know, the King of Thailand recently passed away – which was a really big deal to Thailand.

So when his funeral took place, operators of major malls in Bangkok and other main cities are providing free car parking and transport services today for mourners wishing to offer flowers in memory of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Mall and retail giant Central Pattana opened the parking areas of its shopping centres that are providing shuttle buses to Sanam Luang, including CentralPlaza Rama 2, CentralPlaza WestGate and CentralPlaza Salaya. Those branches will be opened for 24 hours to accommodate those who wish to participate in the Royal Cremation. All CPN’s shopping centres will be open tomorrow.

Every branch of The Mall shopping network, including the Blueport mall in Hua Hin, provided free shuttle buses from 8am until midnight to allow people to attend the flower-laying sites for the Royal Cremation.

Why is this so important for flexible mobility? Because most people just don’t give it a chance, they’re too used the status quo. So when some big event happens like this and people experience shuttle transport en masse, it could really shift mindsets.

Got any juicy stories on mobility around the globe? Share the love! Let us know! And, as always, happy Monday…