A few months ago, we told you about Renault’s autonomous driving project, where a specially-adapted all-electric Zoe could drive itself in specially-marked urban autonomous driving zones at speeds under 20 mph. Then in a different story, we told you about the PMAU project where valet-parking technology was being developed using a Renault Fluence Z.E. as a test bed vehicle that paved the way to a future where finding a parking spot and perhaps even self-driving car sharing projects become the norm.
These two glimpses into Renault’s future self-driving technology were certainly exciting, but now Reanult has given us a name for its self driving technology along with the promise that the majority of its range of cars will come with autonomous driving technology as an option by 2020. Moreover, it’s expected to debut in the next-generation Renault Zoe.
Called Next Two (or at least the prototype is) Renault’s autonomous driving technology is capable of driving at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour on any main roads, as well as carrying out fully-automated valet parking. Renault says this should not only make it the morning commute less stressful, but could save commuters a massive amount of time in the future.
For example, Renault says, allowing the car to drive itself in heavy traffic frees the driver’s attention up for other things, like catching up with work email, relaxing, shopping or perhaps even planning an evening’s entertainment. While the technology won’t work above 18 mph at the current time, the average commuting speed in busy cities like Los Angeles, Paris, London and Washington, DC, is often well below that threshold.
Time — as much as 80 hours per year in major European cities — isn’t the only thing Renault says the technology will help recover. As anyone who has sat in heavy traffic in London or Paris will tell you, driving in heavy stop-go traffic is not only stressful but extremely draining mentally.
In addition to being able to park itself and drive in heavy traffic, Renault says any vehicle with Next Two technology will come with 4G connectivity — or presumably whatever wireless technology is the de-facto standard at the time. Since we’re still a full six years away from a promised launch, it’s conceivable we’ll view 4G Internet connectivity then with as much distain as we currently do with dial-up.
Regardless of how it connects to the Internet however, Renault’s future vision of Next Two-enabled vehicles — electric and gasoline-powered — includes full Internet connectivity to enable passengers and driver alike to make the most of their travel time without worrying about the chore of travelling in heavy traffic.
Are you excited by Renault’s latest self-driving demonstration? Do you use currently available technologies like active cruise control, lane departure control and speed limiters at every opportunity? Or do you prefer your vehicles to be piloted by a human?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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