Renault's robo-vehicle to go “last mile”

Renault has introduced the EZ-PRO, an autonomous and electric robo-pod concept for the future of last-mile delivery solutions.

The “last mile” of any delivery is said to be the most expensive, inefficient and logistically difficult. Renault’s EZ-PRO electric, self-driving vehicle has been designed to eliminate most of these problems.

“With EZ-PRO, we continue our exploratory work around urban shared mobility of the future,” said Laurens van den Acker, senior vice president at Groupe Renault Corporate Design. “Focused on delivery solutions, this autonomous, connected and electric concept represents the ideal tool, being both a creator of opportunity for professionals and a facilitator of services for all its users, direct or indirect. It is based on Renault's expertise in commercial vehicles and on the brand's DNA, which places people at the heart of its solutions.”

The pods will operate in fleets with one human concierge in the lead pod, overseeing the deliveries and movements of all the pods in their fleet. EZ-PRO is said to offer a safe and ergonomic environment for the concierge, demonstrated by size of the front access, the joystick controller and ‘easy-to-manoeuvre’ four-wheel steering.

The pods will feature real-time tracking options via mobile with alert services, allowing the customer to keep tabs on their delivery. It also includes satin finish of the bodywork and wheel fairings, a glossy appearance of the opening panels and reflective properties help to make the pods “unobtrusive in the cityscape”, according to Renault.

A convoy of pods leaving from the same hub and managed by the same logistics operator can carry different types of goods and merchandise, with each pod having its own paymaster, clientele and delivery place. This means that they can deliver items from many kinds of shop or business at the same time, making them a “shared solution”.

Renault says it has the power and designs to change the delivery service; we’ll just have to see in the future whether it comes to fruition.