Renault teams for autonomous shuttle in Paris

Renault teams for autonomous shuttle in Paris

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Renault Group is teaming up with WeRide for its first demonstration of an autonomous shuttle in real world conditions.

Renault is demonstrating the autonomous shuttle with WeRide self-driving technology at the Roland-Garros 2024 Paris Open tennis tournament at the end of this month.

The company is not looking at self driving cars for its consumer brands, separating expectations for individual vehicles from the needs of public transportation

“Renault Group is moving forward to implement its autonomous vehicle strategy. As a result, thanks to our experiments and our partners, the best in their fields, we will be in a position, well before the end of this decade, to propose a highly relevant range of autonomous, low-carbon miniBuses to meet the growing needs of the regions,” said Gilles Le Borgne, CTO of the Renault Group.

For the individual vehicle the focus is on assistance at Level2 and 2+ rather than autonomy, with ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) at the top level of the market.

For public transportation autonomy is relevant and necessary in order to meet effectively the growing need for low-carbon mobility in the regions, it says. It is developing an electric, robotised, and pre-equipped miniBus platform that will host various automation solutions from specialist partners such as EasyMile and Milla as well as WeRide. This will bring in a range of sensor technologies as well as central processing from Lenovo Vehicle Computing with the Nvidia Drive Thor system base don the latest Blackwell GPU as well as computing systems from Kalray in Paris.

In Europe, over 400 major cities will gradually become low emission zones, while still having to ensure the mobility of their populations.

The company has been conducting trials for several years, including the Mach 2 project for  a fleet of automated electric minibuses integrated into the public transportation network of Chateauroux Metropole in France from 2026.

“Innovation only makes sense if it is shared, economically accessible and genuinely useful to as many people as possible,” said the company. “Technological developments are now making it possible to offer increasingly effective driver assistance and delegation functions adapted to different types of vehicles and use.”

There is a significant technological complexity gap between level L2 automation and level L3 autonomy, because the vehicle must be able to operate safely in complex environments with limited driver supervision. At this stage, the induced cost to be borne by customers, in relation to the driving benefits, would make demand insufficient or even anecdotal, it says.

At the same time, the Group says it is making sure that the architecture of its vehicles can evolve towards the autonomous car if expectations, regulations, or the cost of technologies make this breakthrough feasible.

The WeRide shuttle will have autonomous operation within an operational defined domain, with remote supervision, but without an on-board operator, which is a key step forward for delf-driving transportation vehicles.

From 11am to 7pm, from 26 May to 9 June 2024, the experimental service will take passengers from the P2 car park on the outskirts of the Bois-de-Boulogne to the Roland-Garros stadium. And, at the end of the matches, it will return to the Place de la Porte d’Auteuil or back to the P2 car park.

WeRide has over 700 autonomous vehicles in service, including 300 shuttles, that have travelled more than 28 million km in Asia, the Middle East, and North America.


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