Groupe Renault has recently showcased its new self-driving concept car, Renault Zoe, at the Viva Technology Exhibition or Viva Tech 2019, in Paris. The new autonomous car is part of the company's ongoing Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab Project to develop autonomous and electric vehicles for shared mobility space. The project focuses on developing a comprehensive autonomous transportation system which includes autonomous vehicles, a supervision system, connected infrastructure and customer applications. Essentially, Renault is working on creating a car-on-demand service using autonomous electric Zoe Cab prototype vehicles. These prototype cars are currently undergoing testing on the Paris-Saclay urban campus.
Developed in collaboration with tech partners like the Transdev Group, IRT SystemX, the VEDECOM Institute and the University of Paris-Saclay, the Renault Zoe is designed to work as an app-based ride-hailing service. The service is designed to provide many pick-up and drop-off points, which do not interfere with other traffic and are located near (never much more than 300 meters from) the most frequented campus areas. If needed, the vehicle stops on the way to pick up another passenger travelling along all or part of the same route. People travelling to the campus by public transportation will be able to use the service to freely move around the site.
The car offers a seating capacity for 3 passengers only because currently, the Renault Zoe is using level 4 autonomous tech, which requires the presence of a safety driver in the car to take over in the event of an unwanted situation that the car can't handle. Having said that, the car is fitted with several cameras and sensors that read the situation on the roads, pedestrian movements, and traffic signals and acts accordingly, without the need for human intervention.
Technical details with regards to the electric motor and battery capacity haven't been shared with us at the moment, but we expect more information to come out soon as the company hopes to commence public trials by the end of this year. However, the full-scale application of the Renault Zoe in real-world conditions is expected to take a couple more years.