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.
The developers and engineers at Renault have modeled Callie’s autonomous driving skills on the abilities of professional test drivers so that it can ‘handle challenging driving scenarios’ that might exist in real life. The driving scenarios shown in the video clip were first undertaken by the pro test drivers, and then using their example were programmed into by Callie.
Simon Hougard, director of Renault’s Open Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley, explained the thinking behind using real drivers to inspire Callie’s programming:
“Despite all the recent technological improvements, in some challenging scenarios humans can still compete with many of today’s autonomous driving systems. This is why we test against professional test drivers. To our engineers, they are an inspiration and a benchmark, teaching us new ways to think about a problem, and setting the bar on the performance we need to demonstrate.”
For some time now, Renault has been pushing the envelope when it comes to research and development into its ‘Drive the Future’ programme, with an end goal of ‘becoming one of the first brands to offer widely available “Mind Off” technology on mainstream vehicles.’
This innovative breakthrough in autonomous technology will work in tandem with Renault’s existing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, a range of technology that has been developed to improve safety and create an easier driving experience. Hougard explains their vision “At Groupe Renault, we are focused on being an innovation leader in products, technology, and design. Our innovation efforts aim to develop advanced autonomous driving technologies that consumers can trust will create a safer, more comfortable journey.”
With plans to launch more than 15 models with a range of autonomous technologies between now and 2022, Groupe Renault is definitely the hot favourite!