Renault envisions a self-driving ride-share future with EZ-GO concept

2018 Geneva Motor Show Renault EZ-GO concept & Talisman S Edition image

"This electric, autonomous concept explores the positive potential impact of shared mobility for all", said chief designer Laurens van den Acker.

It's definitely a priority for cities to do more shared use vehicles, but getting there, and getting users comfortable with the idea, will still take some work.

According to Renault, EZ-GO is both a auto and a service. According to Renault, it also combines the flexibility and comfort of individual transport with the efficiency and the safety provided by public transport. The EZ-GO is envisioned to be available on demand via an app but also at permanent stations throughout a city. There's a large screen in front of the door for sharing trip information (time to arrival, planned stops for boarding or leaving, etc.), or information about the city's services, with the passengers.

When an Ez-Go is requested to a certain station, its floor extends out into a ramp so that passengers can depart easily. The EZ-GO's interior looks more like a downsized city bus than a luxurious passenger vehicle with its upright bench seats and tie-down straps for luggage.

It's also a connected vehicle, offering onboard Wi-Fi connectivity and induction charging for mobile devices.

The six seats are arranged as a continuous U-shaped bench, rather than in rows, encouraging passengers to socialise en route (which also saves space by obviating the need for an aisle) with extra racks for luggage conveniently placed next to the ramp. The station's screens show cultural and tourist information about the city and lets you book trips spanning several means of transport, and tickets to museums at your destination.

EZ-GO has Level 4 autonomous driving capability, meaning it's able to change lanes, turn at an intersection, and manage its distance from the vehicle in front of it. Instead of side doors, it features an enormous hinged front gate that allows passengers to walk aboard, rather than sliding in as in a typical passenger vehicle.

The French automaker figures it can get away with the low-output powertrain since the vehicle is designed only to travel within the city (not on intercity highways) at speeds no higher than 30 miles per hour (50 km/h).

As a mode of shared transport, Renault hopes that Ez-Go will alleviate congestion, as well as improve noise and air pollution in cities.

Ever since Louis Renault drove his first vehicle straight up the Rue Lepic, one of the steepest streets in Paris, to win a bet in 1898, the company he founded has had a direct interest in urban transport.

The concept is part of Renault's ultimate aim to launch a ride-hailing service and robo-taxis by the end of 2023, with the firm hoping it will become a part of the smart city ecosystems that are now being developed.

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