The service can be operated by private or public organisations and aims to supplement car ownership and mass transit such as subways and buses
Automaker Renault has unveiled its vision of a future on-demand mobility service as it pledges to launch ride-hailing robo-taxi commercial services by 2022.
EZ-GO is a shared driverless electric vehicle (‘robo-vehicle’) designed to transport up to six passengers simultaneously. Renault unveiled its vision at the Geneva Motor Show, which takes place from 8-18 March, and describes the EZ-GO as “a car and a service”, which aims to become part of a smart city’s ecosystem.
It seeks to provide an on-demand mobility solution for all and works through an instant-booking service from an app, or from in-town stations, depending on the preference of the operator.
The service may be operated by private or public organisations. It can potentially operate 24/7 and it supplements car ownership and mass transit such as subways and buses. It combines the flexibility and comfort of individual transport with the efficiency and the safety provided by public transport.
The EZ-GO has level 4 autonomous driving capability on the SAE International 5-level scale. This means the vehicle is able to manage its distance from the vehicle in front, stay in lane, change lanes (when overtaking, for instance) and turn all by itself at a junction. It can also move into a safe position in cases of exceptional incidents in its vicinity, either by itself or through its connectivity with a monitoring centre.
According to Renault, compared with a conventional or ‘shuttle’ type of vehicle, EZ-GO actively bolsters its users’ safety thanks to its limited speed (30mph), its wide front opening is safe and away from the road for passengers when getting in and out, and a light marks the ground outside to indicate where the platform will land.
Safety is also increased for the city’s other users and persons near the vehicle, thanks to the light signature that shows it’s in autonomous mode, the messages on the light strips (showing arrows to pedestrians when they can cross the road) and the outside sounds that signal its presence to pedestrians and cyclists.
Once on board, passengers are promised a connected and personalised “life experience”. There is an open space for discussions, with sofa-type seating in a semicircle for more conviviality. They can choose where they want to sit when booking. Once everybody is settled in and any luggage fastened in the reserved spots, users push the button to tell the vehicle that it can start again.
There is onboard wi-fi connectivity and users can charge their smartphones by induction. There’s a large screen in front of the door for sharing trip information (time to arrival, planned stops for boarding or leaving), or information about the city’s services, with the passengers.
For example, Renault EZ-GO can display information about a tourist spot as it travels close by. Last year, Renault showed this vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity technology (V2X) in the autonomous prototype SYMBIOZ demo car.
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.
As well as function, Renault has focused on form and the EZ-GO’s innovative architecture and cocoon-like styling “is meant to be beautiful, far from a cube-shaped shuttle”, it says. The characteristics of this concept mean all types of users can use it, in many ways and under various conditions, in keeping with the Easy Life brand promise.
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