Renault reveals driverless taxi you can hail on your phone
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Cities of the near future could be home to driverless taxis that you order from an app on your smartphone or from designated pickup points, according to a French car-maker.
Renault has unveiled an electric concept vehicle, called EZ-GO, that aims to blur the lines between private and public transportation.
The six-seater vehicle, which could hit the streets by 2022, features a rooftop opening that allows passengers to enter by a ramp for easy access.
Renault launched its futuristic car at a press preview, held as part of the Geneva International Motor Show taking place in Switzerland between March 8 and 18.
It's expected that 70 per cent of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2050 and people will be looking to improve the way they move from place to place, the firm says.
Renault believes on-demand, shared vehicles will complement privately0owned cars and the EZ-GO aims to bridge these differing transportation needs.
EZ-GO will arrive, open its wide front door, lower its suspension and deploy its lighted ramp, before transporting passengers, at a top speed of 30 mph (50 kmh), to their destination.
Head of design Laurens van den Acker floated the prospect that the vehicle might one day become 'part of a city's calling card, like the yellow cabs in New York or the black cabs in London.'
In a written statement, a spokesman for Renault added: 'The future of mobility is electric, connected and autonomous.
'People will choose whether they want to drive or be driven, with or without a driver on board; with vehicles that are more and more integrated into the surrounding environment, in cities that have become "smart" through sensors, connectivity and other innovations are designed to make urban life more pleasant for people.'
EZ-GO is (5.2 m) long, (2.2 m) wide and is (1.6 m) tall. It weighs 3.7000 lbs (1,700 kg), including 660 lbs (300 kg) for a wireless induction battery charging system.
It has a numeric display on the front and back, a bit like on a bus.
It was designed to provide the widest possible field of vision for the autonomous system's sensors and for bringing in light from above through a glass panorama roof.
Passengers sit around its windows in U-shaped seating. The vehicle's limited height ensures it doesn’t spoil outside views of the city.
The floor is covered in herringbone-patterned sustainable wood and an LED light strip crosses the floor to guide the passengers to the exit.
A large screen located in front of the door provides information to occupants, including time to arrival and planned stops for picking up and dropping off passengers, as well as information about tourist destinations.
Wireless chargers are provided for passengers' smartphones and other electronic devices and each vehicle will have a Wi-fi connection as standard.
Appearing almost symmetrical from the side, the tail lights and the opening hatch are the main ways of telling front from back.
All of the sensors required for autonomous driving - including radars, lidars, ultrasound and cameras - are grouped in a removable antenna located on the roof's rear spoiler, which is automatically deployed when the vehicle starts.
The rear spoiler also features the vehicle's third brake light, suspended in its edge, while white front and red rear light strips function as a welcome sequence for passengers and indicators for other road users.
EZ-GO's level four automation means the vehicle is able to manage its distance from the vehicle in front, stay in lane, change lanes and turn all by itself at a junction.
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 centre – a technology currently being developed under the Renault Alliance's umbrella.
- Daily Mail