Renault has coined a new phrase for its EZ-GO ride-sharing concept at the Geneva motor show, presenting a first-of-its-kind ‘robo-vehicle’ as its vision for how urban transportation will evolve.
Equipped with Level 4 autonomous capabilities, the EZ-GO does without traditional pedals or a steering wheel, instead seating occupants in a more social U-shaped configuration, with room for up to six people at a time.
The electric vehicle can manage its own lane position, maintain a following distance from a vehicle in front, negotiate junctions, change lanes by itself and can even find a spot out of harm’s way should a nearby incident take place, either by itself or under the direction of a remote monitoring centre.
Unlike Renault’s earlier Symbioz autonomous concept, which was directed at private vehicle ownership, the EZ-GO is designed to work with ride sharing services, as a complement to existing public transport options like buses and trains.
Passengers can book an EZ-GO ride on-demand, either from a fixed pickup point or on-the-go via a mobile app, with the vehicle able to navigate its own way to waiting passengers.
The overall monovolume shape maximises the robo-vehicle’s field of vision for the array on onboard autonomous sensors, but also provides some interesting passenger accommodation solutions.
In place of traditional doors, the front and roof of the EZ-GO raise in one section to allow walk-in access, with a lower ramp dropping to street level to ensure uninhibited access to the flat-floor interior.
Huge glass panels in the sides and roof provide expansive views outside, but to limit the fear-factor of a fast-moving driverless car the EZ-GO is limited to a maximum speed of 50 km/h. The lack of traditional side-loading is also touted as a safety measure, by keeping occupants away from moving traffic.
Renault sees the growing field of shared mobility solutions as a key part of the automotive landscape, with the EZ-GO the first of a series of mobility solutions to be unveiled throughout 2018.
“We’ve started exploring new mobility services already, and combined with our expertise in individual cars and light commercial vehicles, we believe Groupe Renault will be well-positioned to serve this potential market with electric, connected, autonomous mobility services in both consumer and business-to-business scenarios.” Renault chief operating officer, Thierry Bolloré, said.
Renault’s ongoing mobility development will include a mix of car sharing, carpooling, ride hailing and robo-vehicle services developed as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi with assistance from third-party partners.