This Tuesday at the Geneva Auto Show, Renault unveiled its electric, autonomous EZ-GO robo-vehicle and ride-hailing concept. Designed for use by public or private services, it could provide both taxi and Uber drivers with some serious competition in the not-too-distant future.
According to Renault, the idea is that people could summon an EZ-GO car from anywhere in the city via an app, or by using an interface at one of many designated EZ-GO stations. The driverless vehicle would subsequently show up at their location, opening its wide front door, lowering its active suspension and deploying a lighted boarding ramp so they could walk (or roll a wheelchair) on board.
Never exceeding a speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), it would then proceed to transport the passengers to their destination. Four-wheel-steering would allow it to be nimble, while its level 4 autonomous driving capability would enable it to maintain distance from the vehicle in front, stay in its lane, change lanes when needed, and turn by itself at intersections.
All of the sensors that it uses for autonomous driving – such as radar, LiDAR, ultrasound and cameras – are located in a removable antenna located on the rear spoiler, which automatically deploys when the vehicle starts.
The car can carry up to six passengers, who would have an unobstructed 360-degree view out the windows and self-tinting glass roof while in transit – a centrally-located screen would additionally provide them with information such as points of interest, time remaining in their trip, or upcoming stops. What's more, because ride-sharing is a possibility, Renault states that the service could offer a highly competitive price/kilometer ratio.
Described by Renault as combining the flexibility and comfort of an individual vehicle with the efficiency and safety of public transport, EZ-GO builds upon the automaker's previous SYMBIOZ concept for an autonomous private car. The company states that it plans to launch some sort of ride-hailing robo-taxi commercial service by the end of its current Drive The Future 2017-2022 strategic plan.
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