RATP is testing a “virtual avatar” in the French city of Brest for passenger information on the Bibus network.

A virtual avatar is indeed on hand in Brest to provide passengers with information about their journey in a innovative way. Bibus and RATP Dev are adding this new technology to the face-to-face kiosks and digital data already in their passenger information system. The new passenger information service is currently in testing phase.

Virtual avatar for passenger information on Bibus

Developed in partnership with a start-up company called StarPal.ai, the digital avatar is connected to the Bibus network information system and powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). It can answer passengers’ questions about their journeys throughout the transit network: real-time information, routes, fares, or unforeseen incidents, RATP states.

This avatar offers many features to enable a more seamless passenger experience for the users of the Bibus network. It can understand complex spoken questions and conduct a conversation in several languages thanks to its AI, without the need for text input, according to RATP. It can also calculate routes, which users can download by scanning a QR Code.

This test phase “will allow RATP Dev to analyse the technical performance of the system (response time, comprehension of spoken questions in an urban ambient noise setting, etc.) and analyse user feedback. Depending on the results of this initial test, RATP Dev will fine-tune the system before planning a larger-scale roll-out to the other public transit networks it operates in France and around the world”, the operator points out.

The goal is to make this virtual avatar part of the overall passenger information system; an assistant that provides passengers with useful information by responding naturally and seamlessly to voice commands or typed questions.

For Cécile Tuil, RATP Dev Executive Director for Customers and Engagement, “Innovation is an essential mainstay of our growth strategy, making the passenger journey more seamless and intuitive. We offer services that are ever-more innovative to improve the efficiency and quality of the transit networks that we operate; all to enrich the user experience. This pilot scheme of a virtual avatar that uses the latest technologies is a perfect example of that ambition.”


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