Renault switches gears to 'hyperconnected'

February 11, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Connected car was yesterday. According to French carmaker Renault, future vehicles will be more than just connected. They will make use of any type of connectivity available on the market - from WiFi to LTE and 4G. And of course they will offer several options of automated driving. The 'Next Two' prototype shows what is possible.

Renault has introduced a vehicle prototype that combines more or less all technologies associated with individual mobility of the future: Being connected all the time (of course the expression 'hyperconnected' is owed to marketing expectations), driving autonomously and, of course, avoiding local CO2 emission by driving electrically.

The Next Two is based on Renault's current electric model Zoe - which means that it will be affordable. Plus, it is equipped with a host of sensors that enable it to drive autonomously under certain circumstances. And, as mentioned, it provides all types of connectivity to its users. Towards this end, it has an open source connectivity system on board where users can plug in or tether with their smartphones, tablets or laptop computers.

Sensors all around plus advanced connectivity: The Renault Next Two. For full resolution click here .

With regard to automated driving, Renault uses the term 'delegated driving', which to some extend describes the possible scenarios under which the vehicle can drive autonomously. Currently the company sketches two such scenarios: Valet parking with no driver on board and automated driving in certain zones at speeds up to 30 kph, for instance in congested traffic. The valet parking function permits the vehicle to park itself autonomously in car parks equipped accordingly. This includes both finding a parking place and the necessary manoeuvring. And it includes the way back: By means of a smartphone app, the user can call its vehicle to return from the car park to, for instance, the entrance of the user's home and pick him (or her) up. For this use case, the vehicle's sensors are capable of recognizing the authorized person and unlock the doors only for him. Additional smartphone apps will support multimodal personal transport, which means that the travel route from A to B suggested by the navigation system can potentially include the usage of other means of transport such as metro, train etc.