Open Source Platform for Urban Mobility

| Transport

Highly manoeuvrable electric platform design is open source to enable add-on structures to be designed

Universal mobility platform enables third party developers to create customised accommodation for urban transport

French car maker Citroën has taken the first step towards enabling customised vehicle bodies on a common platform with the formation of the “Urban Collëctif” comprising Citroën, Accor and JCDecaux.

The partnership between the three French companies is designed to create a shared vision of the future of urban mobility with the common ambition of optimising transport so that everyone can reclaim urban spaces and significantly improve the quality of life.

Central to the Urban Collëctif is the “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.

However, the existing pods are just the start of what Citroën believes is possible since the Skate is designed to be an open source platform on which other manufacturers can mount their own designs:

The Open Source Skate

Citroën describes its Skate is an “urban mobility solution” able to travel around all urban centres in dedicated protected lanes to ensure fluid and optimised mobility. Autonomous, electric and chargeable via induction, The Skate can operate almost continuously, 24/7, charging itself automatically when necessary at dedicated charging bases.

It allows the Pods to move as needed and it can be positioned below the Pods on request, to generate movement and activate the service. Because of this, the Pods can then be positioned in less than 10 seconds.

It is fitted with all the technology needed to move transport and logistics units, allowing them to dispense with redundant and expensive equipment and making autonomous driving technology profitable. By comparison, passenger vehicles are parked 95% of the time according to statistics and would never use this technology to its full potential. A kind of ultra-tech skateboard, The Citroën Skate incorporates all of the intelligence and technology required for autonomous and electric travel: batteries, an electric engine, sensors, etc. Its top speed is limited to 25km/h or 5km/h 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 features a minimal footprint with limited dimensions of 2.60m long, 1.60m wide and 51cm high, meaning it doesn’t encroach on public space. Its compact dimensions and design, stripped of the automotive layer, make it a clever and universal system.

Embedded Systems

Embedded systems are spread all around The Citroën Skate, concealed behind the Citroën logos to ensure completely safe and autonomous driving by detecting pedestrians, cars, cyclists, scooters or any other object on the road. Since the front and rear of the Skate are completely identical, the Citroën logos are backlit, white at the front and red at the rear, to comply with regulations and clearly indicate the direction of travel to other road users.

To provide driving comfort during travel, as well as to accommodate the Pods comfortably and without jolts, The Skate is fitted with movable hydraulic cushions.

The wheels, which are revolutionary in their concept and design, were devised and developed by Goodyear, who has already been a partner of Citroën for the wheels on the 19_19 Concept vehicle. For the Skate, Goodyear developed omnidirectional Eagle 360 wheels, comprising spherical tyres featuring the Goodyear ‘wingfoot’ and logo.

Incorporating small electric motors, they give the robot complete 360° freedom of movement so that it can travel in any direction, just like a computer mouse, turn on the spot and inch its way into the smallest spaces, without concerning itself with a specific direction of travel.

Towards Infinite Pods

With The Citroën Skate technology, anything is possible thanks to its open-source approach, which allows any third party to develop a Pod compatible with the technical specifications of The Citroën Skate.

Whatever their needs may be, local authorities, public officials and companies could benefit from The Citroën Skate technology by developing their own Pods for passenger transport, service or consumer goods, in public or private spaces such as airports, factories or convention centres.

The Autonomous Mobility Vision offers a wide variety of flexible and affordable services. A local authority looking to introduce electric and autonomous public services to decongest cities could therefore reduce its operating costs using a The Skate fleet. Numerous public services covering various aspects of citizens’ daily lives could also be involved, including transport, health and waste. With a Citroën Skate fleet, local authorities could absorb spikes in transport demand more effectively during peak hours and offer transport on-demand during off-peak hours, along with safe, noise-free travel options at night. The Citroën Skate Fleet opens up new horizons in mobile, local and personal public services and can be used 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.

Urban Collëctif Pods

The Pods that have currently been designed for The Urban Collëctif illustrate the potential of open-source approaches by offering three innovative and highly different mobility services: Sofitel En Voyage is described as an exclusive urban mobility experience, the Pullman Power Fitness offers a new way of playing sport and exercising while moving and the JCDecaux City Provider provides an innovative on-demand urban mobility service.

“At Citroën, we examine medium and long-term trends to anticipate consumer expectations and needs. We believe that this new concept can redefine the framework of urban mobility: shared, electric and autonomous. With the method we’re presenting in partnership with Accor and JCDecaux, we are inventing autonomous mobility for all,” says Vincent Cobée, Citroën Global CEO.

According to Damien Perrot, Global Senior Vice-President Design at Accor, each of the Pods is a bold and modern interpretation of interior and automotive design. They are designed beyond the conventions and standards that the industry is using today, with precision engineering, high-end materials, refined aesthetics and revamped functions and applications.

“Thanks to this unprecedented partnership, which is highly innovative both in form and substance, we are creating endless opportunities for the future,” he concludes.

Jonathan Newell
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