Autonomous vehicle features
In 2018, Renault will be releasing an advanced driver assistance system for all motorway traffic conditions.
From ADAS to hands-off/eyes-off
Groupe Renault already offers one the widest range of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on the market, enhancing vehicle safety and in some cases (as with AEBS Pedestrian) operating without human intervention.
These ADAS form the starting point for autonomous vehicles, though for the time being they go no further than providing assistance to the driver, who remains fully in charge of the vehicle. That being said, they are already quite sophisticated, automatically handling functions such as braking, accelerating, regulating the distance from the vehicle in front, and centring the car in the lane. This kind of system, shortly to be offered by Nissan, marks real entry into the era of autonomous vehicles, capable of actually instigating decisions on behalf of the driver.
The next step will be a car that can change lane, but again, drivers still need to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. They remain fully responsible for all driving phases.
The hands-off/eyes-off system
In the medium-term future, drivers will actually be able to let the car take control, but only on specific kinds of road, such as stretches of motorways or dual carriageways, and under certain conditions (congested traffic, speed limits). Renault will be putting out test fleets from 2020, to input a maximum amount of data and experience on what is still completely uncharted territory, and to study driver behaviour in contact with these new systems, analysing drivers’ acceptance of these new practices and their understanding of how the systems work. It is difficult de predict precisely when we might expect to see this sort of system enter mass production, since widespread use will require major changes in regulations and legislation.
With eyes-off/hands-off technology the car can actually drive itself; drivers can take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel, though they must nevertheless be capable of resuming control of the vehicle at any time. This kind of delegated driving will typically be allowed during the most monotonous driving phases, on motorways or in congested traffic. With the free time this affords, drivers will be able to make safe use of vehicle connectivity functions, when compatible with road conditions and compliant with applicable laws and regulations. Renault plans to be the first volume carmaker to offer affordable cars featuring eyes-off/hands-off technology, from 2020.