Self-driving shuttle service linking the Pfaffenthal elevator and the Kirchberg funicular elevator

Question by Tom Krieps

In accordance with our rules of procedure, I would like to ask a question concerning the introduction of the new self-driving shuttle service linking the Pfaffenthal elevator and the Kirchberg funicular elevator.
This service operates autonomously, which means there is no human involvement except for the "attendant", who acts more as an elevator operator than as an actual driver. In any case, this role is apparently set to be discontinued after the test phase.
Now, it would appear that this mini revolution in human mobility did not go through the City Council.
It would also appear that there are no regulations governing the use of these vehicles on our roads.
In addition, there are several safety and ethical issues surrounding the use of these "self-driving" vehicles. Hence my questions to you, Madam Mayor:

  • What is the policy for avoiding obstacles, be they piles of leaves or wildlife of varying sizes?
  • Should we not issue regulations or guidelines for these vehicles since – unless I am mistaken – the Ministry of Transport (Ministère des Transports) has not yet passed any legislation on this subject?

Response by Patrick Goldschmidt

Alderman Patrick Goldschmidt replied that the self-driving shuttle is part of the European "Avenue" project, which falls under the "Horizon 2020 – Research and Innovation Framework Programme". A Luxembourg firm had taken part in this and had approached the municipal council about implementing the project.
The self-driving shuttle was designed by a French company, Navya. The project is supported and co-financed by the European Union, which means that one of the two self-driving shuttles in operation is being run at no cost to the City authorities.
Four cities have been selected by the EU: Lyon, Geneva, Copenhagen and Luxembourg City.

With regard to safety measures, a specially trained professional bus driver is always present on journeys to ensure passenger safety. The advanced technology on board the shuttles recognises obstacles and reacts accordingly without compromising safety. In addition, the shuttles have received the necessary ministerial authorisation and have been inspected and approved for operation by the National Vehicle Testing Centre (Société nationale de contrôle technique – SNCT) in Sandweiler. EU Directive 2007/46/EC, which stipulates that such shuttles no longer need to be equipped with a steering wheel, has been incorporated into the Luxembourg traffic code. Furthermore, on the route taken by the shuttles, the speed limit is now 30 km/h.

Lastly, this project is currently in a six-month research and testing phase. At the end of this period, an evaluation of the test phase will be carried out. The municipal council has no concrete plans at present for self-driving vehicles in the near future. 

Fire on 14 September 2018 at commercial premises in Hamm

Response by Lydie Polfer

The Mayor stated that since the necessary answers had not yet been received from the Grand Ducal Fire and Rescue Corps (Corps grand-ducal d'incendie et de secours – CGDIS), these questions should be revisited once adequate answers had been received.
The building is covered by a building permit dated 18 March 1968. The operating permit (commodo-incommodo) comes under the authority of the minister responsible for work and/or the environment.