Renault concept car uses tech to combine the world of work and family life...
The barriers between home and work have been breaking down for some time. Now car maker Renault is aiming to blend the two even further with a concept car known as the Frendzy.
With the increased intertwining of family and office life in mind, Renault intends for the electric-powered Frendzy to be suitable as both a family and commerical vehicle - and the car is packed with technology for both uses.
The integration of the BlackBerry PlayBook into the dashboard - to the right of the steering wheel - means the car can be used as a movable office.
With the PlayBook on board, salespeople can take the tablet with them to give impromptu presentations to clients or courier drivers can use the slate to locate delivery locations and keep track of their progress throughout the day.
The car changes its interior and external lighting depending on what it's being used for - green for work and orange for family mode.
The passenger side of the car has a sliding door with a 37-inch digital display - showing the Frendzy logo - which can be used for advertising, information about the car's remaining battery charge or messages such as "making deliveries" or "back in five minutes". The PlayBook is used to control what the exterior screen of the car is displaying.
The passenger side has two doors that open outwards on hinges at opposite ends of the car, unlike conventional car doors, signalling the family aspect of the car by allowing passengers to get in and out more easily.
"The concept of an asymmetric body design was the most logical way to express this vehicle's two roles. I took inspiration from a wide variety of sources, including unconventionally shaped aircraft such as the Airbus Beluga and the Antonov 224," exterior designer Deyan Denkov said in a statement.
The Frendzy can be used for transporting goods and work tools when the rear and passenger seats are folded down into the floor.
The doors contain sensors which can log the loading and unloading of items that contain RFID tags, meaning a real-time inventory can be kept of items on board. The RFID tags can also provide information such as destination address, dimensions and weight, which can help delivery drivers work out their itineraries.
The passenger and rear seats can be folded up when the car is being used to transport people for work or when it is in family mode.
When there are passengers in the rear of the car they can watch films or play games on a touchscreen, which slides out from the back of the driver's seat. There's also a digital slate on the sliding door which younger passengers can use for drawing.
Most electric cars are almost silent but Renault has worked with Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique to create engine sounds in order to warn pedestrians of the car's approach at slow speeds. The sounds change depending on whether the vehicle is in family or work mode.