French automaker Renault has made its intentions with the autonomous driving world well-known, and at the Geneva Motor Show it showed how it might proceed into the future with an electric autonomous car called the EZ-GO.
Calling it a “first of its kind” (though I can’t say I have any idea why Renault thinks that could be true), the automaker says EZ-GO is a concept both as a vehicle and a service that would allow passengers to hail a ride “either from a fixed or mobile location.” That means you could either use a smartphone app or a permanent standalone station.
The car has level 4 autonomous driving capability, which has varying degrees of definition depending on who’s talking, but Renault says that means it has technology like adaptive cruise control, and can handle lane switches, turns, lane keeping assistance, and 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 center.” (No idea what qualifies as an “exceptional” incident.)
The lack of a safety operator may be striking, but the car is designed to only handle speeds up to 30 mph. So, in effect, it’s a taxi designed for city centers alone. The long cocoon shape gives the car a maximized field of vision, Renault says, so the car’s suite of autonomous sensors can see the road and safely drive around.
The EZ-GO has a smart interior that’s ideal for the hypothetical driverless world of the future. The spacious interior’s outfitted with a U-like design for seating up to six, and, smartly, Renault planned the car in mind to be accessible to get in and out.
Once the car’s at a station, a hatch opens up for passengers to get on-board or leave, and the flat floor it flush with a boarding ramp, making it wheelchair accessible.
The car is a concept, but Renault says it wants to push this thing out by 2022, which tracks with comments made by CEO Carlos Ghosn. And when that time comes, Renault already has a stake in a (not kidding) media company that could entertain passengers with some form of content.
That’s the future I want. Me, a handful of friends, sitting in a circle, while a pod drives us around and I read exclusively branded Renault content. Woo, yeah.