“EZ-GO could be the Black Cab of London or the yellow cab of New York City”

Groupe Renault’s Head of Corporate Design, Laurens van den Acker was asked by Automotive News Europe about the particularities of designing a robo-vehicle compared to a traditional car. Using the example of the EZ-GO concept, he emphasizes the importance of creating an object that integrates into the ecosystem of the city in which it evolves, until potentially becoming a symbol.

Tomorrow’s shared mobility will use electric, autonomous and connected vehicles (aka “robo-vehicles”), following the example of the EZ-GO concept unveiled by Renault at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Obviously, such an object is not conceived as one conceives a traditional car intended for individual ownership.

This is explained by Laurens van den Acker, Groupe Renault’s Head of Corporate Design, in an interview with Automotive News Europe. Asked about the challenges he and his teams faced in terms of design, he stressed in particular that it had been necessary to completely rethink embarking and disembarking.

“Getting in and out of a robo-vehicle is very important. You don’t want to get out on the street side, because there could be a car driving by. The fact that you can just walk in is a more dignified way of entering and exiting. We found a solution where we have one front-opening door that has also created space for a wheelchair or somebody who has difficulty getting around.”

A window on the city

Beyond the practical aspects, Laurens van den Acker insists on the fact that the design of a robo-vehicle like EZ-GO must be conceived around the human being, to allow him both “to feel protected” and “to travel differently”. For this, the robo-vehicle must be “a window on the city”. Hence the large glass surfaces of EZ-GO.

But he goes further in the relationship between the robo-vehicle and the urban environment in which it evolves by explaining that inside, passengers must find information about the city to enhance or complete their journey. For example practical information (nearby services, museum opening times, etc.), tourist or historical information.

A symbol of the city

Between these aesthetic, human and practical aspects, Laurens van den Acker becomes a visionary and imagines that a robo-vehicle could even become a symbol for a city that adopts it.

“With such a service, you are designing for a city or for a company. It becomes an object that in my view becomes a symbol of a city. We say the EZ-GO could be the Black Cab of London or the yellow cab of New York City. If Paris wants to show what it stands for, wouldn’t you want it to be something modern, efficient, elegant and comfortable?”

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