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28 May 2018 Comments (0) Mobility, Technology

Take a car as you would take the tube

Renault has just presented the concept EZ-GO (easy-go): a 100% electric self-driving shuttle for the urban transport of people. A future alternative to taxis and the underground?

It looks like a large MPV shaped like a trapezoid. Its silhouette recalls that of a car. And yet, you enter it standing up. Like in the underground. Walking. Maybe pulling a suitcase or pushing a stroller. This funny-looking vehicle uplifts its body at the front to embark passengers, and it’s called EZ-Go. It is Renault’s latest concept car that looks like a symbolic answer to the current rejection of the traditional car in urban environments.

The engine has all the attributes of the future, which has already begun: it goes without saying it is completely electric and self-driving, and the cabin has entirely been redesigned by the Renault designers. They have created a mobile and ultra-connected lounge. The chic and comfortable vehicle offers a 360° view on the city thanks to its glazed surface.

Transport on demand

The robot taxi comes with a public terminal that serves to recharge it and to call it. It has no steering wheel or pedals, and no driver. By 2022 it could transport up to six passengers that have pre-booked it and entered their destination using a simple app on their smartphone. To facilitate access, it comes with a large front door to safely get in and out, away from traffic, with lights indicating where the platform will deploy.

Renault is far from alone in taking this path. Indeed, Ford wants to deploy its own self-driving taxi service in 2021, thanks to a new vehicle called Chariot, designed to transport goods and people on demand. It will soon be copied by Daimler, who has a partnership with the American start-up Via to install its own shuttles in the British capital. Same logic at Toyota, that has recently launched Toyota Connected, a brand in partnership with the American Microsoft. The future of mobility will be electric, connected and self-driving. With the choice of driving or being driven. With or without a driver on board.

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