As many of us will attest, driving today is nothing like it was 50 years ago. For older generations, seat belts were the only road safety features on most cars but that landscape has changed significantly.
New mobility is to us what the Model T was to them in 1908. And while the Model T took four or so decades to fully supplant the horse, new mobility will be with us much sooner. South Africa’s small population and few large cities will probably delay the demise of your car parked in your driveway for now. But not forever.
“Bumper cars,” my son asserted when seeing the picture. “No, first mile/last mile transport. Autonomous nogal,” I replied. Enter EZ-Pod, Renault’s electric vehicle concept designed to carry people from here to there. The first/last mile.
The Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi partnership is investing big money in new mobility. Why are they doing this, and what is new mobility?
New mobility in this sense means cars, specifically the big disruptive changes that will transform the face of motoring. Predictions are that cars and driving will see a revolution in the next five to ten years that would dwarf the evolution of the last five decades. Their investment will guarantee the Partnership a seat on this rollercoaster.
The 2018 Paris Motor Show revealed some jaw dropping concept cars with the Renault EZ-ULTIMO one of the standouts. While this autonomous shuttle may be far from reality, it is a tantalising glimpse into the future of motoring and ride sharing.
The average automaker’s target market has always been the private consumer. So, naturally, the assumption has always been that the self-driving car would cross the finish line looking like a robo-taxi. Now McKinsey & Co. predicts the future of autonomous driving technology may come in the guise of an automated delivery vehicle, with over 80% of all deliveries becoming unmanned in the next decade.
The race to be the first car manufacturer to produce a line car with autonomous driving capabilities has, up to now, been a very tight one. But, Renault’s recent unveiling of Callie, the AI system that drives its Zoe prototype like a professional test driver, might just put the French automaker ahead of the competition.
If you’ve ever had dreams of moving (quite large, very attractive) objects with your mind, you’re in luck. Renault recently broke new ground when they unleashed an experimental model that allowed drivers to control the vehicles with their thoughts. No kidding! The Renault research team have been hard at work trying to provide the means to solve this global teenage dream, and they seem to have cracked it, at least to a certain extent.
No longer part of a Steven Spielberg movie plot or quirky feature in a futuristic cartoon, autonomous cars and self-driving technology are both very real. While we are still some time away from self-driving cars hitting the road, the reality is that it is something most of us will see happen in our lifetimes.
The idea of self-driving cars is no longer just an idea, it is quickly becoming a reality. In fact, in a bid to ensure that the autonomous cars are not just a concept, but indeed part of our daily lives, Renault-Nissan Alliance is partnering with Transdev to integrate this technology so that it becomes a widely available transport option for everyone to use. This marriage is the perfect partnership: Renault-Nissan Alliance brings the automotive expertise, while Transdev provides the know-how when it comes to public and on-demand transport systems.