Groupe Renault begins public testing of autonomous on-demand Zoe taxi

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Groupe Renault has begun a four-week public trial of its on-demand car service, provided by two autonomous Renault Zoe Cab prototypes.

The trial is a part of the Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab project, operating around the campus during daylights hours with a panel of 100 test subjects. This will enable Renault to assess the technical capabilities of the autonomous vehicles, but also obtain feedback from end users on the service, the companion app and its operation.

The two Zoe Cabs have a different configuration: one features a fore-wing door running the length of the vehicle to allow access to the front and rear seats, as well as individual screens, speakers and USB ports; the other has a larger rear door opening onto the pavement and a front passenger seat facing backward, toward the center of the cabin. On both versions the passenger screens offer real-time trip information, music and temperature controls and notification of any additional passengers.

“The experimentation with panelists starting with our on-demand mobility service with autonomous Renault Zoe Cabs will enable us, based on user feedback, to define the necessary adaptations to the service, the mobile application and the vehicles in order to offer, tomorrow, the best on-demand, electric, autonomous and shared mobility service,” said Patrick Vergelas, lead services experimentation, Groupe Renault.  “This is part of a global project named ‘Paris Saclay Autonomous Lab’ which has been initiated by five partners with complementary expertise: Groupe Renault, Transdev, IRT SystemX, VEDECOM and Paris-Saclay University.”  

The dedicated app called Marcel Saclay, designed specifically for the trial, enables users to hail a vehicle or book one in advance, adding information such as their destination and the number of passengers. Twelve pickup and drop-off points have been selected around the campus, and the app has the facility to guide the user to the nearest meeting point, allowing the Zoes to make stops en-route in order to collect or drop-off other users.

The 100 participants were chosen by independent firm Eurosyn to join the study, with each one either working, studying or living on the Paris-Saclay campus and committing to using the scheme a minimum of eight times during the 25-day trial period. At the end of the test, participants will be asked to share their views on the service, the app, overall comfort of the vehicles, and the quality of the onboard services.

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Matt has 18 years of experience in automotive journalism, having worked across a number of UKi Media & Events titles as a freelance journalist, as well as holding senior editorial roles at a number of industry publications. Having driven and reviewed more than 1,000 cars in his career, Matt has also featured on the judging panel for the International Engine of the Year Awards and the Professional Motorsport World Magazine Awards.

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