Renault has commenced a public trial of an autonomous, electric and shared on-demand car service.
The trial started Monday and will last until November 8, with roughly 100 people using the service. It will take place on the Paris-Saclay “urban campus” in France and will use the Renault ZOE Cab, a prototype vehicle. Two vehicles with differing features will be deployed, with passengers able to hail them using a mobile-based app.
The campus hosts several initiatives, including “academic research centers” that belong to Université Paris-Saclay; start-ups; and the private research and development centers of multinational firms.
Renault said the pilot would allow it to “test the technical aspects” of the service, which will run Monday to Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Monday’s announcement by the autos giant follows last week’s news that it would, together with Waymo and authorities from the Paris Region, be exploring the creation of an “autonomous mobility service” between Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport and the business district of La Defense.
Renault is one of many major firms testing autonomous vehicle technology.
In September, Daimler Trucks and technology firm Torc Robotics started to test autonomous trucks on public roads in southwest Virginia. Torc is part of Daimler Trucks following a majority stake acquisition.
At the time, Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the U.K.-based Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, told CNBC.com via email that the shift to connected and autonomous vehicles represented “the greatest change to how we travel since the invention of the car.”
“But safety is the number one priority for the automotive industry and self-driving vehicles are still some way off because of the challenges involved with equipping them to handle all possible driving situations,” Hawes added.
Last week, Renault’s board voted to end Thierry Bollore’s brief spell as CEO of Renault. Chief financial officer Clotilde Delbos was handed the role on an interim basis, with Jean-Dominique Senard named as interim president.
According to financial results for the first half of 2019, group revenues amounted to 28.05 billion euros, a drop of 6.4% compared to the previous year.