Renault details all-electric, autonomous vehicle

Renault details all-electric, autonomous vehicle

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The Symbioz Demo Car systems meet the requirements for the fourth of five levels of autonomous driving. This so-called “mind-off” level allows fully automated driving on roads approved for this purpose, such as motorways or expressways with central lanes or in the city centre, without the driver having to constantly keep an eye on the traffic situation. The vehicle can independently change lanes, drive curves, overtake and cope with stop-and-go traffic. For this purpose, it constantly communicates with its surroundings and other vehicles. In addition, the demo car is capable of “valet parking”, i. e. picking up drivers and passengers at the front door. With the Symbioz Demo Car, Renault is already carrying out road tests under real traffic conditions.

Renault is currently planning to launch fully automated level four vehicles on the market from 2022. Autonomous driving at the “mind-off” level is currently not yet permitted in Europe, but it is possible on certain routes for test purposes, provided that a driver is behind the wheel and can take control of the vehicle at any time. 

Read also: Renault discovers robot cars, electric drive

The body of the Symbioz Demo Car has a large number of sensors as the basis for the autonomous driving functions. These include lidar detectors in the headlights and rear bumper. They are complemented by radar and ultrasound sensors as well as a front camera at the top of the windshield. In addition, there is a camera on the tailgate and side cameras in the door openers.

The design of the interior also reflects the goal of transporting the occupants comfortably at the mind-off level. This means that there is no center console and the cabin floor is always flat. The cockpit layout changes depending on the driving program. In autonomous mode “AD” (“Autonomous Driving”), for example, the instrument panel and steering wheel retract 12 centimeters so that more space is available.

The OLED cockpit in HD resolution
enables users to watch videos during 
the L4 autonomous ride

The L-shaped cut fully digital cockpit was developed in cooperation with LG Electronics. It comprises three individually configurable OLED display fields for driving information, navigation and comfort functions or on-board entertainment with a resolution in. high definition quality. The cockpit is complemented by a head-up display on the windscreen.

Another feature of the Symbioz Demo Car is its high degree of cross-linking with the environment. When boarding, the vehicles recognise the driver and passengers and adjust the seat settings as well as the music and video selections in the car to suit them individually. This is made possible by the data exchange between vehicle and smartphone. Furthermore, thanks to Wi-Fi interface, fourth generation (4G) mobile phone standard and GPS, users can access digital media and services they use at home or at work from the car.

The Renault test vehicle is also capable of communicating with other networked vehicles and the traffic infrastructure (V2X connectivity), so that the driver is warned of accidents, traffic jams and danger points at an early stage. Renault cooperates with public authorities, private companies and public and private organisations.

Renault’s cooperation partner in the field of vehicle infrastructure communication is the French motorway operator Sanef. Together, the two companies have created the prerequisites on the A 13 motorway (Paris-Rouen-Caen) to enable the Symbioz Demo Car toll stations to pass completely autonomously. Motorway tolls are charged electronically by data exchange.

The Symbioz Demo Car is powered by two electric motors mounted directly on the rear axle. They transmit their power to a rear wheel separately. According to Renault, the advantage of this design is optimum traction. The double rear-wheel drive also eliminates the distracting effects on the steering system. An all-wheel steering system called 4CONTROL also increases driving dynamics. 

Together, the two electric motors produce 500 kW/680 hp in the demonstration vehicle; they mobilize a maximum torque of 660 Nm. The continuous output is specified at 360 kW/490 hp with a torque of 550 Nm.

The batteries of the concept vehicle with a capacity of 72 kWh can be charged to 80 percent of their capacity in less than half an hour at a quick charging station. Thanks to the total voltage of 700 volts, greater performance increases can be achieved. The vehicle architecture enables the use of electricity storage units up to 100 kWh.

The Symbioz Demo Car was developed in parallel to the Symbioz Concept Car, which was shown at the IAA 2017 in Frankfurt. Like the study, the experimental vehicle is now much closer to series production.

Don’t turn your head: Cameras and screens
replace exterior mirrors.

Plus, it is also connected  with the concept house with which Renault demonstrated at the trade fair how autonomous, networked and electric mobility could be integrated into everyday life in the future. Renault collaborated with renowned partners to create the Symbioz Demo Car:

  • LG for the digital cockpit
  • Ubisoft for virtual reality glasses with virtual projections in autonomous mode
  • Sanef for the communication of the vehicle with the vehicle infrastructure
  • TomTom for navigation and geo-positioning functions
  • IAV Engineering for the implementation of autonomous driving functions

As part of its “Drive the Future” strategic plan, the Renault Group plans to launch 15 autonomous vehicles and eight purely electric and twelve electrified vehicles by 2022. The autonomous driving functions will be introduced step by step under the name of “Renault EASY DRIVE”. Fully automated driving at level four as in the Symbioz Demo Car will be possible from 2022 onwards.

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