Groupe Renault today unveiled its SYMBIOZ concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which showcases the company’s vision of the car of the future and its role in lives inside and outside the car. Renault SYMBIOZ comprises a car, a demo car and a home, and comes under the ‘Wisdom’ petal of the company’s lifecycle-based design strategy. Renault is claimed to be the first carmaker to present a complete home at a motor show, which evokes future possibilities of the car delivering new features inside the home and be an extension of the home.
The company said its SYMBIOZ concept looks ahead to a horizon of up to 2030, and the demo car foreshadows a vehicle in a closer timeframe, around 2023. Both cars are electric, autonomous and fully connected to their environment. The occupants enjoy a cabin that feels like home and has been designed for autonomous motoring, with the car becoming an extension of the home, on the road. When parked inside the home, it doubles as an extra mobile, modular and multi-purpose room, added Renault.
Renault said the SYMBIOZ concept provides extra space and features for the home, taking on different functions according to the needs and desires of occupants. Inside the home, it becomes a snug, mobile, comfortable and modular extra room. In addition, a lifting platform can raise the car from the ground floor to the bedroom or the rooftop terrace on the first floor. It can also be an open space like a living room, especially since the cabin interior was inspired by the design of living rooms, the company noted. The concept can also be used as a closed space that can offer occupants seclusion from the rest of the house.
The car is complementary to the home and also an extension of it, said Renault. They share the same architecture - steel frame, extensive glazed surfaces and wooden decor elements. Additionally, same interior and exterior materials have been used on both the home and the car, such as copper, marble, fabric and porcelain. The car features a split door opening system, with rear-hinged rear doors for the lower part and butterfly doors for the glazed upper part. Combined with the absence of a B pillar, the system invites occupants to climb on board in the same way as they would walk through the doors of their home.
The upper section of the car body seems floating and resembles an architect-designed house, while blending in with the lines of the car. The roof is attached to the vehicle frame using high-tech enamelling for extra sturdiness and rigidity, without obstructing the glazed surfaces. The SYMBIOZ car features carbon-fibre bodywork in two shades of copper. The car has Renault’s C-shaped lighting signature in the front and rear, with the rear lights producing a variety of dynamic visual effects on how hard the driver is braking. It uses Michelin tyres with a special narrow construction developed to maximise SYMBIOZ’s energy efficiency.
The interior of SYMBIOZ is equipped with Ultra High Definition OLED display located in front of the driver. When the autonomous drive system is switched on, the steering column and steering wheel fold away into the dashboard and the pedals and dashboard retract automatically by about 15 cm. Renault said the seats contract to convert into armchairs, and the driver benefits from additional comfort, as well as more space. There is a small screen with the main indicators remains visible on the lower edge of the steering wheel, which remains in the driver’s line of sight once the steering wheel retracts.
The cabin arrangement of the Renault SYMBIOZ car can be transformed when the driver is not travelling alone, with the driver and the front passenger turning to face the other occupants. In addition, a mini steel frame table with a marble top opens out between the seats. There are small wristwatch-like touch screens integrated in the seat belts, which provides occupants with controls for components like air conditioning and music system. The driver also has access to all the driving controls for switching off the autonomous drive mode.
Renault said its SYMBIOZ and SYMBIOZ demo car are both cars capable of reaching Level 4 driving automation, resulting in ‘Mind-off’ automation. This frees up the driver from all dynamic driving tasks when the car’s automated driving system is switched on. The car is capable of moving into a safe position on the side of the road if it cannot deal with an unexpected incident ahead, the company said. A Level 4 autonomous car can adjust the vehicle’s speed in accordance with the car in front, stay in its lane even when cornering, change lanes and operate alone in traffic jams. All this can be achieved on approved motorways or dual carriageways with a median strip, Renault added.
The Renault SYMBIOZ concept car and demo car are powered by all-electric motors, in Renault’s continued pursuit of its Zero Emissions strategy. Two permanent-magnet electric motors powering SYMBIOZ and the demo car deliver high power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios and are located on the rear axle, with each motor driving one wheel. The SYMBIOZ demo car delivers maximum power of 500kW and 660Nm peak torque, with a driving range of over 500 km in real-world driving conditions, noted Renault. The Renault SYMBIOZ concept and demo car were designed on a special EV platform. The position of the motors and batteries have been optimised for E-segment cabin space with no transmission tunnel, along with a dynamic drive due to lower centre of gravity and the battery position
Renault said the SYMBIOZ demo car was developed under an open innovation project and foreshadows the electric, autonomous and connected car of 2023. A number of partners provided input in their specific areas of expertise. These included LG in the development of the human-machine interfaces, Ubisoft in providing on-board virtual reality experience for autonomous driving mode and Devialet in developing a new user experience through advanced sound system. Sanef is working on the way the car communicates with road network infrastructure, while TomTom is contributing its geo-positioning expertise and IAV is providing autonomous driving engineering expertise, noted the company.
Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design, Groupe Renault, said car design can no longer be thought of in isolation from the surrounding ecosystem. It also cannot be isolated from the evolution of major changes like electric energy use, connected and autonomous drive technologies that influence lives, he added. Van den Acker noted that Renault SYMBIOZ is a truly unique project that allowed the company to work with planners, designers and engineers, academics and architects, start-ups, and sociologues.