French auto maker Renault has launched an experimental on-demand robotaxi service as part of a national initiative to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles.
From October 14 to the November 8, 2019, a test group of 100 people will be able to hail the Renault Zoe prototypes as part of the ‘Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab’ project.
This daytime service will use fully electric Renault Zoe prototypes to transport panelists around the Paris-Saclay urban campus, be it traveling to one of the schools or laboratories or heading out to lunch. The service will run Monday to Friday, from 11:00am to 6:00pm.
Two vehicles will run around the Paris-Saclay urban campus throughout the entirety of the public trials. One Zoe vehicle will be equipped with a large gull-wing door that spans the length of the interior, allowing immediate access to front and rear seats. The other will have a larger rear door on the right-hand side for easier car access. The door is located on the right to allow passengers to disembark safely. A modified interior also allows the front passenger seat to face backward so passengers can ride face to face.
Users will book the service via a service-specific mobile app by indicating their position, destination and how many passengers they’ve booked for. Depending on where the user is on campus, the app will direct them to the nearest meeting point and provide an estimated time of arrival for the vehicle.
The Zoe cabs are equipped with touchscreens to assist passengers during their trip. Each passenger also has their own private bubble with a selection of soundscapes to enhance their mood and well-being.
The test group is representative of the general campus population and is made up of university students, teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs and admin staff.
Commenting on the experiment, Richard, a Doctor of Law and one of the test subjects, said, “I am interested in testing an innovative means of transport that could help me get around better. For me, autonomy is the future – it’s modernity, the future of the automobile. I am really looking forward to participating in this experiment.”
Waymo airport service
Groupe Renault is also working with Nissan and Waymo to provide autonomous mobility services in France and Japan. In the Paris region, Renault will explore the implementation of an autonomous mobility service between Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport and La Défense business district.
Adam Frost, chief automotive programs and partnerships officer, Waymo, said, “France is a recognized global mobility leader, and we look forward to working with the Paris region and our partner Groupe Renault to explore deploying the Waymo driver on the critical business route stretching from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport to La Défense in Paris.”