5 bus manufacturers competing for autonomous shuttles serving Zaventem Airport

Zelfrijdende shuttle zaventem De Lijn_trajecten

From 2019, self-driving buses will shuttle passengers and staff within Zaventem airport. Five consortia were recently shortlisted to tender for the contract.

The Flemish transport company De Lijn has shortlisted five bus manufacturers for the construction of a transport system involving self-driving shuttle vehicles at Brussels Airport. In about three years’ time, these shuttles will be able to transport both employees and travellers transport between various key locations within the airport limits. Even though driverless, the vehicles will move under the supervision of a dispatcher.

Belgian-Dutch VDL Bus & Coach submit tender

These five companies were provided with the specifications allowing them to submit a tender. The winner of the contract will be selected in late 2017.

“The self-driving shuttle is cutting-edge technology that captures the imagination,” says Flemish Minister for Mobility Ben Weyts. “This pilot project should turn this vision into a reality. I want to harness innovation to further enhance the services offered by De Lijn. This is an investment in the future, in greater efficiency, and in a more enticing offering for our public transport.”

Shuttles to run in mixed traffic

The self-driving vehicles will follow a route within Brussels Airport limits. They will connect the bus and train stations at the airport terminal to the business park at the Brucargo Air Freight terminal. The shuttles will be driving in mixed traffic over large sections of their route and thus interacting with all other existing road users.

Investing heavily in the future

De Lijn and partner Brussels Airport Company are investing heavily in this innovation.

“As an intermodal hub where several modes of transportation intersect, Brussels Airport enjoys working on projects that improve mobility in and around the airport,” says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. “The automatic shuttle has the advantage of being available to thousands of travellers and employees at any hour of the day or night.”