Saturday, February 24, 2024

Autonomous Citroën Skate comes with swappable pods for inner-city travel

The changing needs of urban mobility have led to an increase in cross-sector agreements between car manufacturers and companies from other sectors. This is the case of the joint project signed by Citroën, hotel multinational Accor, and billboard-slash-street-furniture maker JCDecaux that have teamed up to form a creative and committed partnership called The Urban Collëctif.

The Urban Collëctif has created a revolutionary mobility concept, dubbed Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision, which combines a high-tech and universal mobility platform, The Citroën Skate, with three new service Pods – Sofitel En Voyage, Pullman Power Fitness, and JCDecaux City Provider – each offering a unique experience to explore cities in a new way.

The Citroën Skate is a self-driving electric vehicle platform stuffed full of batteries, radar, and LiDAR sensors, and omnidirectional Eagle 360 wheels developed by Goodyear. It features a minimal footprint with limited dimensions of 260 cm long, 160 cm wide, and 51 cm high, meaning it doesn’t encroach on public space. The reduced dimensions and the omnidirectional spherical tires fitted with small electric motors allow the platform to move in any direction and rotate on itself, even in tight spaces.

The Citroën Skate is a self-driving electric vehicle platform.
The Citroën Skate is a self-driving electric vehicle platform. Credit: Citroën

From a technological point of view, the platform has been engineered to contain all the components necessary to determine its movement. The maximum speed is limited to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) or 5 km/h (3 mph) to ensure the safety of all users, depending on the area. The speed can be configured according to how the Pods are used in order to meet demand as effectively as possible.

It can be fitted with different types of pods depending on the type of use you intend to make with the platform. All the pod designs can be fitted to the platform in as little as 10 seconds, and two of which were designed by the French hotel company Accor.

The Sofitel En Voyage is a pod that is specific for urban mobility. It offers the type of high comfort you might associate with a luxury hotel brand, mixing flat glass, wooden marquetry, and blood-orange velvet tones from floor to ceiling in a box big enough for two to three passengers. An interior scrolling LED strip would display information in real-time, such as personal messages, news, weather, arrival, and travel times. A touchscreen tablet would allow a video conference call to be made to a Sofitel concierge to arrange a restaurant or theatre reservation, for example.

Citroën Skate with Sofitel En Voyage pod that is specific for urban mobility.
Citroën Skate with Sofitel En Voyage pod that is specific for urban mobility. Credit: Citroën

Pullman Power Fitness, on the other hand, combines physical activity with traveling. The deliberately futuristic and avant-garde atmosphere perfectly illustrates the symbiosis between sport, music, and light. A rowing and exercise machine can be found inside the glassy bubble, ensuring the occupant’s privacy while maintaining a view of the outside.

The JCDecaux City Provider is inspired by street furniture. Designed for up to five passengers, it is fitted with USB charging and interactive screens to enhance the mobility experience, with information and useful services for planning and tracking journeys. JCDecaux City Provider is infused with pure shapes and a timeless, sober, and functional design, offering comfort and space onboard. It combines various materials and textures to comfortably accommodate passengers – textured black, satin aluminum grey, dark-tinted windows, and a light wood aesthetic and plants.

The Citroën Skate Fleet opens up new horizons in mobile, local, and personal public services and can be used in medical practices, food dispensers, food trucks, and security. Artificial intelligence provides the ability to predict where and when these Pods need to be placed according to outdoor events or individual preferences.