Groupe Renault

RENAULT EZ-POD, AN EXPLORATORY VEHICLE FOR THE FIRST AND LAST MILE

May 16, 2019
  • Renault EZ-POD is a small, autonomous, connected and electric robo-vehicle, designed to transport people and goods over short distances.

  • Renault EZ-POD stands out thanks to its small footprint and agility in meeting mobility needs on closed sites, (parking, hotels, shopping centres, campuses), and also in urban settings, (city centres, neighbourhoods and housing estates)

  • EZ-POD is a “test-and-learn” object whose first user experiments will help evolve the vehicle to meet with their expectations and usages.

  • Inspired by the EZ-GO and EZ-PRO concept-cars unveiled in 2018, Groupe Renault continues to explore new mobility options with EZ-POD, scoping out what could be an autonomous and shared mobility complement for the first and last mile.

 

The market for mobility services emerged about ten years ago with projections reaching nearly 11 billion euros in 2020.[1]. Opportunities are many, and Groupe Renault is heavily involved in identifying and developing new shared mobility services across the board.

 

 

EZ-POD: AN AUTONOMOUS and FUNCTIONAL EXPERIMENTAL OBJECT

 

As the micro-mobility landscape undergoes a sea change, Groupe Renault unveils EZ-POD, an exploratory electric and autonomous vehicle for on-demand travel over short distances. Designed for people transportation or good delivery, Renault EZ-POD maximizes usage relative to the space it takes-up (3 m2).

 

Like electric scooters (for which the regulations are still evolving) or the bicycle, Renault EZ-POD is a limited-speed micro-mobility solution. It’s also autonomous, inclusive and safe.

 

There are a host of applications where the Renault EZ-POD’s agility makes it ideal. Where a shuttle runs along pre-defined routes, several pods can be combined to pick up travellers and bring them to their destination. Because pods are small and drive slowly, they are less obtrusive in a crowded urban environment – making these robo-vehicles flexible in use and socially acceptable.

 

With the Renault EZ-POD’s limited speed, compact design, and agility, it can provide transportation within pedestrianized environments like airports, car parks and shopping centres, where it will be trialled in dedicated zones.

 

In the future, the Renault EZ-POD could be authorized to drive on some pedestrian streets, or to advance – at very low speeds (under 6 kmph) – right up to the entrance of buildings and houses to drop off people with limited mobility (including elderly people and those with cumbersome shopping, children, or luggage). Another possible use would be as a follower-pod for a “follow me”-type delivery application.

 

Renault EZ-POD is a functional demonstration device that enables new uses to be explored for autonomous vehicles without a cockpit. It’s a work in progress, and likely to evolve in line with feedback from users, fleet operators and city authorities.

 

If we can tailor the autonomous vehicles of the future to our current needs – for instance, as passenger cars – it is certain these ground-breaking devices will generate new uses and applications that emerge as the experiments progress, explains Frederic Auzas, Robo-vehicle Program Manager at Groupe Renault.

 

A MODULAR PLATFORM FOR AUTONOMOUS AND SHARED MICRO-MOBILITY

 

Built on a Twizy chassis, Renault EZ POD is inspired by the lines of the EZ-GO concept car and the modular platform concept of EZ-PRO. Choosing a fully electric Twizy platform threw up the technical challenge of creating a compact design that eliminates a driver's cockpit and incorporates the autonomous technology. The vehicle’s low speed and earliest usage scenarios made it feasible to rationalize the number of sensors. Renault EZ-POD is fitted with one camera and one Lidar on the front to scan the scene ahead, plus short and long-range radars located behind the car’s shiny black front and rear trim. Finally, there are two antennas and a GPS in the roof, for real-time position tracking and connectivity.

 

The proportions of the overall design manage to optimize a small parking footprint with spaciousness, chiefly thanks to a battery size that has been pared back to the absolute minimum for short urban journeys.

 

The Renault EZ-POD for people transit purposes features a big opening on the side, so people can get in and out easily and fast. Its plain and coloured interior is designed to be durable and easy to clean in the event of shared use. Renault EZ-POD has the same seats as the original Twizy with coverings of structured plastics or more ecological materials, such as a processed linen floor mat. Passengers are greeted by two screens that provide information about the journey and the interior lighting system enables to play “welcome” and “goodbye” ambiances and well as give status updates on the EZ-POD (e.g. waiting, booked, on a journey).

 

Renault EZ-POD, designed primarily as a robotized automated platform to provide first and last mile transportation of people, can also be provided in a goods delivery version.

 



[1] Managed Mobility Services: A Global Strategic Business Report – Global Industry Analysts Inc., 2016

 

 

Learn more about Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab

Learn more about VIVA TECH 2019

Learn more about our partnership with the start-up Karhoo (SNCF Group)

Learn more about the EZ-Flex trial by La Poste

 

 

 

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About Groupe Renault

Groupe Renault, which has been making cars since 1898, is now an international corporation with a presence in 134 countries and sales of 3.9 million vehicles in 2018. Today, the company has over 180,000 employees, 36 manufacturing sites and 12,700 sales outlets worldwide.

To meet the major technological challenges of the future while continuing to pursue its profitable growth strategy, the group is focusing on international expansion. To this end, it is drawing on the synergies of its five brands (Renault, Dacia, Renault Samsung Motors, Alpine and LADA), electric vehicles, and its unique alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. With its committed 100% Renault team participating in the Formula 1 world championship since 2016, the brand is involved in automotive sports, a true vector of innovation and notoriety

 

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