It’s called the EZ-Pod and it’s a small robo-vehicle with electric propulsion designed to transport people and goods over short distances. When we say small, we actually mean tiny because the EZ-Pod is built on a Twizy chassis and takes up only 3 square meters (32.3 sq ft) of space.
Choosing the Twizy chassis meant that engineers and designers were faced with the challenge of creating a compact design that eliminated the driver’s cockpit and incorporated the autonomous technology.
They did that by taking inspiration from the EZ-Go concept car’s design and the modular platform of the EZ-Pro study. The tall and narrow shape has been dictated by the need to achieve a small parking footprint and a spacious interior. That was done thanks to a battery size that “has been pared back to the absolute minimum for short urban journeys.” Renault does not reveal the vehicle’s driving range, though.
While the EZ-Pod is designed to offer first and last mile transportation of people, it can also be converted into a goods delivery version. The passenger version features a big opening on the side for quick and easy access. You’ll notice that there’s no glass to cover the opening, just like on the Twizy.
The interior is also inspired by the Twizy electric vehicle as it has the same seats but in a face-to-face arrangement. Renault says the plain and colored interior is designed to be durable and easy to clean. It features materials like structured plastics and processed linen for the floor mat. The cabin also includes two screens that provide information about the trip and a lighting system that plays “welcome” and “goodbye” ambiances and gives status updates on the EZ-Pod.
On the outside, the small autonomous pod is fitted with one camera and one Lidar on the front to scan the scene ahead, plus short and long-range radars located behind the car’s shiny black front and rear trim. The EZ-Pod is also equipped with two antennas and a GPS in the roof for real-time position tracking and connectivity.
Renault says there are many possible applications for the EZ-Pod, including using it as a shuttle for pre-defined routes or as a transport solution within pedestrian areas like airports, car parks and shopping centers. The self-driving pod could also be used to drop off people with limited mobility at the entrance of buildings and houses or as a follower-pod for a “follow me”-type delivery application.