In continuation of the "Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab" program, here is "Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab". Groupe Renault is putting three ZOE Cab prototypes under test on the Paris-Saclay urban campus (20 km south of Paris). Objectives for the French manufacturer? Deepen its knowledge of autonomous mobility and further improve the user experience. Electric and shared mobility is already a visible reality in many cities in Europe, thanks in particular to Renault, the leader in the sector. Groupe Renault is now adding the "autonomous car" dimension.
The first report on the experimentation of autonomous electric cars conducted by Renault and its partners on the scale of the Rouen conurbation is more than positive. Since its launch in the context of the Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab program, revealed June 26, 2018, the autonomous, shared Renault ZOEs have already traveled more than 3,000 km, at 30 km/h in the flow of traffic. The proper operating of the vehicles, the first connections to the infrastructure, the implementation of supervision, as well as the satisfaction of the panelists users and the craze of the Normandy metropolis are all encouraging for the future.
“In Rouen, we have implemented what we had imagined in 2017. The first users of the service were enthusiastic and the polls that were conducted revealed no particular hindrance or apprehension. The experimentation continues. With the necessary ministerial authorizations obtained in April 2019, we have just started the first runs in autonomous mode on the third route connecting the Madrillet Technopole to the Zenith of Rouen”, announces Patrick Vergelas, Head of Renault Mobility Services.
So why stop there? Today, Groupe Renault decides to take another step in urban mobility. A new service of cars on demand, electric and autonomous, allows to experiment “point-to-point” trips on the urban campus of Paris-Saclay.
In Rouen, in the image of a bus route, autonomous electric vehicles follow a circuit route and mark stops at specific points. To get to their destination, users must go through all stations between their point of take-over and their point of arrival.
In Paris-Saclay, on the other hand, autonomous Renault ZOE Cabs performs “point-to-point” journeys to allow users to reach their destination directly by using the fastest route.
This system is perfectly suited to the vast Paris-Saclay business cluster, located in both the Essonne and Yvelines departments. Representing some 265,000 jobs, Paris-Saclay hosts 3 universities, 9 big schools and 7 research organisations, ranking among the world’s eight main global clusters of innovation.
The prototypes of ZOE Cab put into experimentation, developed especially for these uses, were designed to deliver a mobility service on demand, autonomous and shared. They offer different types of doors to facilitate access to the passenger compartment, different seating configurations – including a rear-facing front passenger, forming a cabin shared by several users -, an interface screen to ensure that everyone buckles their belt before departure and offer various services on board, etc.
With the experimental service of the “Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab” program, Groupe Renault and its partners have created an advanced road service network all over the territory. The geographical coverage of the campus is assured thanks to 13 points of ascent and descent of the vehicle. They are chosen in the immediate vicinity of busy places, never require more than 300 meters of walking to join them, and their location does not interfere with the traffic of other road users.
After ordering its trip via a dedicated application, the user goes by foot to the indicated meeting point. The ZOE Cab arrives and drives it autonomously to the closest service point to its destination, by the most direct route available, without following
a pre-established route. If necessary, the car stops on its way to pick-up another passenger to complete all or part of the same trip.
“Electric, on demand, shared, mutualized… this experimental service of the “Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab” program is a particularly completed mobility solution, for a more fluid mobility, more respectful of the environment, in order to make the city more pleasant and more effective”, concludes Patrick Vergelas.
Thanks to this experiment, students, professors or simple visitors of the campus will have as of Autumn 2019 the opportunity to move on the plateau of Paris-Saclay in autonomous electric vehicles… But that’s just the beginning!
“Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab aims to define the conditions for deploying an autonomous mobility service on a larger scale”, declares Patrick Vergelas.
With its “Drive the Future” strategy, Groupe Renault has the ambition to become an operator of autonomous, electric and shared mobility, by 2022. In Paris-Saclay, the French manufacturer is writing a new chapter in this strategy, while completing its expertise in the field.
Copyrights: Jean-Brice Lemal, PLANIMONTEUR, François SUSSET