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Renault reckons total vehicle autonomy is still a long way away

Don't expect a self-driving Scenic any time soon...

Published: 15 May 2024

While most of us can see some of the benefits of autonomous driving, the day where you pump in a destination and let your car do the rest is still a long, long way off, according to Renault.

While announcing plans to work on autonomous tech for public transport, it said: “Further automation of some functions, with the aim of achieving complete vehicle autonomy, seems unlikely for the time being, given current regulations, customers expectations and the cost of complex technology involved.”

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Basically, it's too complicated and too expensive to bother with in a road car right now. Try telling Elon Musk that...

Although, Renault Group's chief technology officer, Gilles Le Borgne, did say: “We will be in a position, well before the end of this decade, to propose a highly relevant range of autonomous, low-carbon minibuses to meet the growing needs of regions.”

Sadly he's not talking about a self-driving Espace, but rather a new minibus platform based on the latest Renault Master van. Working with various partners, it expects a fleet of these automated buses to start work in France in 2026, operating 24 hours a day with a 'remote supervision system' in case something goes wrong. Hmm.

Separately, it's planning an 'experimental' autonomous shuttle service at this year's French Open tennis tournament, with passengers being ferried between the car park and the Roland-Garros stadium. Ace!

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For now though, Renault's cars will be getting Level 2 (and what it calls 2+) tech only, so semi-intelligent systems involving cruise control, lane keep assistance, automatic overtaking... that sort of thing.

Level 3 is where Renault is hoping to make strides in the coming years, but it admits there is a ‘significant’ gap between the two levels.

This is because cars would be expected to navigate complicated environments with almost no driver input at all, and that's simply not on the cards yet.

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