French automaker's latest concept drives itself towards an autonomous future.
As electric propulsion gains prominence and self-driving capability comes to the fore, automakers around the world have been scrambling to present their visions of what the autonomous vehicle of the future could look like. And this is Renault's.
Called the EZ-Ultimo, the concept was unveiled today under the limelight of the 2018 Paris Motor Show. And suffice it to say, it looks like nothing you'd expect to see on the road today. That could be because it was designed less as a car and more as a rolling hotel suite or first-class airline lounge.
The emphasis in its design, then, was clearly at least as much on the interior cabin space as the exterior shape. Inside it's all leather, wood, and marble, with an Augmented Editorial Experience system to provide multimedia content while under way. It features wide-opening automatic doors and a rotating seat that glides out to greet the passenger. Not driver, mind you, because this vehicle drives itself, with Level-4 autonomous capabilities.
The Renault EZ-Ultimo isn't meant to be owned, either. Instead it's designed for ride-sharing services that are growing in popularity as the old model of automobile ownership give way to on-demand availability.
"As consumer trends change and people are enjoying ride-hailing services more and more, a new paradigm for mobility will emerge. Embodying this revolution, EZ-ULTIMO offers a unique luxurious experience aboard a robo-vehicle that can be adapted depending on the service provider," said Laurens van den Acker, SVP Corporate Design. "Inspired by contemporary architecture, and completely integrated in future smart cities, EZ-ULTIMO will provide an exclusive experience for all. With autonomous, electric and connected cars, we are entering a new exciting era in automotive design."
It's the third such concept Renault has crated, following the EZ-Go and the commercial-oriented EZ-Pro.
While we don't expect to see Renault put this futuristic show car into production as is, we won't be surprised to see some of its design elements and overall approach applied to future vehicles – not only from Renault, which doesn't compete in the US market, but from allied brands like Nissan, Infiniti, and Mitsubishi. Ten or twenty years from now, in short, the Nissan Altima of the future could more closely resemble this concept than it will the mid-size sedan recently launched.