Renault looks to the future of urban package delivery with EZ-Pro concept
Renault says that future urban mobility will be electric, connected, autonomous and shared – and has today revealed its last mile delivery vision at the Hannover Motor Show in Germany. The EZ-Pro autonomous electric pod concept is all of those things, and sees a manned package carrier at the front of a convoy of driverless, modular pods satisfying the delivery needs of online customers.
It wasn't so long ago that we would all actually travel into town and do all of our shopping in the high street or retail park. Now many of us simply go online, select from a list and have what we need delivered to our door. Renault says that such urban deliveries are set to grow by around 20 percent by 2030, further clogging up busy city streets.
"Renault EZ-Pro shows our vision of last-mile delivery integrated with the ecosystem of smart cities of tomorrow and the needs of professionals," said the company's Ashwani Gupta.
Little in the way of detail has been revealed, but the concept is the next in a series of urban mobility ideas that include Renault's EZ-Go autonomous electric people transporter. It's made up of an autonomous leader pod that's home to a human concierge followed by driverless robo-pods. They've been designed to blend into the urban or city landscape, having a satin finish to the body, boxy wheel fairings, glossy opening panels and reflective properties.
The concierge climbs into the leader vehicle to the front and is there to supervise delivery and manage the fleet. There's also a joystick controller to manually control the four wheel steering feature if necessary.
The robo-pods can be had with custom modules developed for specific business needs – such as locker-based grocery delivery or package hauling – and can platoon one behind the other or trundle along independently.
One logistics company, for example, could oversee convoys leaving the hub together. This convoy could make its way around intact, or each pod could split off along its own delivery route and then rejoin the convoy before returning to the hub. One delivery pod could also be shared by different companies – making some deliveries for one store and then another – potentially increasing efficiency and saving on costs.
Package recipients will be able to book a convenient delivery slot, and can opt for the human touch by choosing to interact with the concierge or go total robo and have the package placed in one of the lockers, to be opened using an app running on a smartphone. The app will also allow for real-time tracking and notifications.
The short promo video below has more on the concept.