Renault reveals its vision for autonomous vehicles with the Next Two.
Put 2020 in the diary if you want a Renault that can drive itself (at low speeds). The French manufacturer has just revealed the Next Two, an autonomous all-electric hatchback that gives a hint at what to expect from the future ─ a future where your car parks for you.
The Next Two is designed to provide the driver with a ‘hyperconnected mobile lifestyle’ while the car does its self-driving party trick, essentially turning your car into a home/office on wheels. 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi connectivity keep the car connected at all times so you can do things like watch YouTube and order some new trainers as you sit in traffic.
“With Next Two, we wanted to combine the worlds of delegated driving and connectivity,” Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn commented. “Not only will autonomous driving enhance safety, but it will also free up time for drivers. Being connected will enable them to make the most of this extra time by providing them with access to new in-car services such as video-conferences, on-line shopping, travel information and more.”
Renault’s autonomous function only works up until 18mph on what it calls pre-configured ‘Protected routes’ so you will need to look elsewhere if you were hoping to offer zero driving input. While that sounds like a cop-out, driving is at its most tedious when the roads are congested, although arguably collisions are less likely at walking pace. Still, without the right road the system is pointless.
In Renault’s defence the Next Two self-driving technology is supposedly cheaper to implement than a LIDAR alternative like Google’s, making it potentially more accessible.
One especially impressive aspect of the Next Two is an ‘Automated Valet Parking’ function that tucks the Next Two in a space without you in the car. It then picks you up from your location once you’ve told the car to do so via a smartphone app. Now you can finally fire that chauffeur.
A massaging seat, video conference camera and a centrally-located large tactile multifunction display complete the package.
Renault is yet to say whether the Next Two will make production or a price.
Renault Next Two images