Navya, a leading company in autonomous driving systems, equips the Sheba hospital for the country’s first public service of autonomous mobility.

First daily service in Israel around the Sheba Medical Center campus  

Sheba Medical Center, located in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, is a medical center in the Middle East and an internationally recognized healthcare facility. From January 2021, an Autonom Shuttle integrates with the Center’s existing Sheba Bus shuttle service to transport passengers around its campus. Part of the Smart Mobility Initiative under the Prime Minister’s Office, this pilot project is led by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and the Israel Ministry of Transport, in cooperation with ST Engineering. This pilot project will be operated in collaboration with autonomous solutions startup Blue White Robotics (BWR). As part of this project, Navya is providing the autonomous driving systems as well as the electric shuttle and associated services. This is the 23rd country in which Navya is deploying its solutions.

A complex environment for an ambitious technological challenge

The route is a loop of about 2.1 km and serves the main hospital buildings (Ophthalmology Centre, Institute of Odontology, Pediatric Centre/children’s hospital, etc.), sharing the road with existing bus lines. The route is punctuated by 7 stations and welcomes any person on the hospital site (staff, patients, visitors, etc.). The shuttle operates in a very complex environment due to the presence of very dense and varied surrounding traffic (buses, taxis, cars, bicycles, motorbikes, other small motorized and slow vehicles of all kinds, etc.). On the route, the shuttle runs close to large car parks (resulting in a rather poor Lidar environment and therefore difficult to map), passes under several bridges and in the middle of tall buildings (limited GNSS coverage), and crosses 4 roundabouts and more than 20 pedestrian crossings. These are the many challenges that are met and overcome by autonomous driving systems, whose technology is constantly evolving. Future development prospects with further opportunities in the country After this deployment, the service will be continued, and additional shuttles could join the site with potential future paths. Many other projects are under consideration in Israel, as the country is facing major transportation challenges such as heavy traffic congestion, traffic-related accidents, air pollution as well as their associated economic and health impact, public interest in autonomous shuttles is on the rise. The Ministry of Transport is promoting autonomous trials for various use cases for first/last mile.