France’s Navya raises $34M for its self-driving shuttle bus, reportedly at a $220M valuation

When it comes to self-driving cars, the public tends to focus on developments for private vehicles for individuals, but there are also some significant advances underway in other categories such as shuttle busses.

In the latest piece of news, Navya, a startup out of France that makes driverless shuttles, has raised $34 million (€30 million) in funding to build out its team, technology and sales. The funding is coming from two strategic backers, public transportation provider Keolis and automotive parts group Valeo, along with Qatari investors Group8.

Navya is not disclosing its valuation but one report from Funderbeam estimates it at $222 million after this round. Navya prior to this round had raised $4.5 million (€4.1 million) from French investors Gravitation, CapDecisif, and Robolution Capital (an investment fund focused only on robotics investments).

Navya’s flagship vehicle, the Arma, was in development for 10 years before it was launched in October 2015. The Arma is completely electric and autonomous and can carry up to 15 passengers and drive up to 45 km/hour (28 miles per hour). The company already has vehicles on the road in Lyon in a public transportation project, along with other unnamed strategic agreements, and it also has plans to manufacture and roll them out also in the Middle East in partnership with Group8.

Meeting demand from municipal organizations, and companies that have closed but large campuses that require transportation to move from point A to B, the aim is to have 30 vehicles in use by the end of this year, the company said.

While that will give Navya a jump on the market for autonomous shuttle buses, it is not the only one putting its pedal to the metal to meet demand.

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