Last-mile delivery is, apparently, the cause of a lot of traffic in urban areas. Living in New York City and having to constantly dodge around double-parked delivery trucks, I am inclined to agree. Renault’s solution to alleviate that is to implement a fleet of automated delivery pods.
Unveiled today at the Hannover Motor Show, Renault’s Ez-Pro concept has a leader pod, manned by a real person. Because the pods are driverless, that human can spend their time with tasks like managing the delivery schedule and hand-delivering goods.
Behind the mother pod, like a herd of little ducklings, are the other driverless pods. These can either platoon through city streets or navigate independently, depending on the customer’s needs.
Here’s a video of Renault’s glorious, imagined future.
From Renault’s press release:
A convoy of pods leaving from the same hub and managed by the same logistics operator can carry different types of goods and merchandise, each pod having its own paymaster, theme, clientele and delivery place. They are however operated by the same electric and autonomous platform. In the same manner, a pod can make a series of deliveries for one online store and another series for a different store. These shared scenarios contribute to maximize productivity and save costs.
Theoretically, this would cut down on the number of delivery trucks needed. I’m not sure how these pods would fare in aggressive NYC traffic, but it’s a neat idea. It’s also not entirely new; Renault’s Ez-Pro sounds similar to Toyota’s e-Palette concept.
Renault’s design is cute and I like them. Even if they don’t work, at least they’re better to look at over some pissed off guy screaming at you to go around because he’s double-parked illegally.