Virtually all automakers are currently working on some form of driverless ride-sharing/taxi services. Whether it’s through investments in existing services, like GM with its acquisition and investment in Cruise Automation and Lyft respectively, or through direct development like Tesla with its Autopilot and ‘Tesla Network‘ programs.
Renault and Nissan are the latest automakers to follow with their own effort in the space. The Alliance announced today a partnership with Transdev to develop a public and on-demand transportation service using a self-driving electric car fleet.
They announced the news in a press release today:
“The companies will collaborate to develop a comprehensive, modular transportation system to enable clients to book rides, and mobility operators to monitor and operate self-driving car fleets.”
The program will have a focus on electric vehicles and it will first be tested in Paris with Renault’s all-electric ZOE. The two automakers have been talking about further collaborations especially in new mobility technologies, like a common electric vehicle platform for the next-gen ZOE and LEAF, and this new project is part of that effort.
Ogi Redzic, Renault-Nissan Alliance senior vice president of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services, said about the announcement:
“As the mobility services landscape keeps evolving, we have a great opportunity to offer innovative, connected mobility solutions for the evolving needs of our customers, fully aligned with our vision of a zero-emission, zero-fatalities society. Partnering with Transdev allows us to share our knowledge as leaders in electric vehicles, autonomous drive and connected-car technologies with one of the largest multi-modal mobility operators worldwide. Together we will develop an advanced driverless mobility system that will enhance existing public and on-demand transport systems.”
Nissan has previously reported that it is aiming for fully autonomous level 4-5 driving for 2020-2021. Therefore, we wouldn’t expect a commercial application coming out of this effort soon, but it is nonetheless interesting – especially with the involvement of Transdev.
Transdev is a massive private-public transport operator in Europe. They have been working on their own self-driving technology and combined with their important assets in public transport, they could prove to be a valuable partner in deploying the technology.
It offers the opportunity for seamless integration of driverless taxi service, which seems to be what they are going for with the ZOE, and public transport.