Renault Debuts Autonomous EZ-GO Concept Vehicle

French automaker Renault took the wraps off its latest electric and autonomous concept car, the EZ-GO, which the company terms a “robo-vehicle” that would offer city dwellers the ability hail a ride either from a fixed or mobile location.

The car is designed to maximize the field of vision of the system’s sensors, bring natural light to passengers through a panoramic glass roof, and make entry and exit easy thanks to a wide flat floor that lies flush with boarding ramps at fixed EZ-GO stations.

The concept comes equipped with Level 4 autonomous driving capability, meaning the EZ-GOcan manage its distance from the vehicle in front, stay in its own lane or change lanes, and turn by itself at various junctions.

It can also move itself into a safe position in the case of a sudden, unexpected traffic situation on the road, either by itself or through connectivity with a monitoring center.

A wide front opening for on-loading and offloading of passengers, a light that that marks the ground to indicate where the ramp will extend to, and a limited top speed of 30 MPH are all intended to provide passengers with a sense of safety and security.

“At Renault all our technology is human-centered. Our goal is to transform travel into an enjoyable experience for all users, therefore putting user experience at the center of our development,” Anthony Lo, Renault’s vice president for exterior design, told The Connected Car. “That experience is important from the beginning when you order the service, since the service is available on demand, through an application as well as through permanent stations throughout the city.”

Lo explained robo-vehicles would help reduce the stress of users thanks to autonomous driving, which means fewer accidents and more fluidity, and would ultimately facilitate travel.

The EZ-GO also boasts a large screen in front of the door for sharing trip information such as time to arrival, or planned stops for boarding or leaving, as well as information about the city amenities and services.

Lo explained the “cocoon-like” styling of the EZ-GO and the large window areas allow passengers a full view of the surrounding landscape and contributes to a sense of comfort and relaxation.

“Users would also be able to manage their time travel to rest, to relax, or to work or to discuss with other passengers,” Lo explained. “With the onboard WiFi connectivity, users have a continuous direct access to their digital lives, and they can charge even their smartphones by induction.”

Renault has already been working on Level 4 autonomous driving technology for a while, boasting a fleet of autonomous mid-size luxury crossover Espace vehicles testing this technology on real life conditions since 2016.

The company’s chief engineer of autonomous driving, Laurent Taupin, explained Renault has autonomous ZOE supermini electric cars testing obstacle avoidance.

In December, a Symbioz demo car provided the company with the opportunity to demonstrate in real-life conditions an autonomous, electric and connected car.

“The result was a whole new life-on-board experience and as much pleasure while driving as with hands off the steering wheel,” Taupin said.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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