Renault's new self-driving car can be a workspace, a food van and a post office
Meet the EZ-PRO, a versatile vehicle for the cities of the future.
Earlier this year, Renault unveiled the EZ-GO concept, an autonomous ride-sharing car designed for the cities of the future. Following on from that, they have now presented the EZ-PRO, a self-driving vehicle directed more towards the commerical sectors such as delivery, food and drinks vending and office space. It can even function as a mobile post office.
The EZ-PRO consists of two main parts, a Leader Pod and several Robo Pods. The former has space for parcels for delivery, stocks for whatever you're selling and a person if necessary, to 'give delivery a more personal feel'. The latter parts will contain the bulk of the storage space, and the back functions as a vending area.
Unveiled at the TechnoCentre in France, the EZ-PRO was later displayed in a more complete and realistic form at the Hannover Auto Show this week. Laurens van den Acker, Director of Corporate Design at Renault, was very confident about the ambitious project, saying: "EZ-GO was the first chapter, where we showed how mobility services can be applied to personal transportation."
"EZ-PRO is our vision on urban mobility for utilitarian use, for commercial use," he continued. "It's another side of mobility services that we expect to increase enormously in the years to come." Its rivals will include the recently launched Mercedes self-driving van, the Vision URBANETIC.
Called the Vision URBANETIC, it is aggressively futuristic.
Use of the Robo Pods system means the vehicle is versatile enough to suit the requirements and limitations of its surroundings. On larger jobs, several of the carriages can be fitted to the back for efficient service. Equally, in particularly busy areas, it is not constrained by its length because having fewer Pods fitted is very easy and would help minimise urban congestion.
Moreover, even when the EZ-PRO is carrying multiple Pods, it still only needs one supervisor in the Leader Pod at the front. This, again, helps contribute to cost and time efficiency for all parties, although some might say that the need for a human passenger at all times somewhat defeats the point of a self-driving vehicle.
Renault bills the EZ-PRO as a 'last-mile delivery vehicle'. The name of the game is ease of use, efficiency and causing as little disruption for everyone else as possible. This is not supposed to be a robust, jack-of-all-trades commercial vehicle, but rather a helpful companion to a company's delivery fleet to make things that little bit smoother for everyone.
Can this work? Have Renault overshot the mark, or have they not gone far enough? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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