Citroën, Accor & JcDecaux and the future, autonomous, urban mobility

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Citroën, Accor & JcDecaux and the future, autonomous, urban mobility-jcdecaux

The traffic is particularly an essential element of daily life in the cities and becomes more complex. And the population in the big metropolises is growing steadily. The World Bank predicts that up to 2050 two-thirds of humanity will live in cities. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the expectations of the city dwellers in safer, more flexible and more individual means of transport, which will influence the development of the cityscape and intelligent mobility solutions for the future. Autonomous vehicles can help reduce traffic overload in the cities and to meet future mobility needs.

To achieve this goal, Citroën, Accor and JcDecaux have joined a creative partnership called “The Urban Collëctif”. Driven by the belief that future mobility must be about safety and well-being, The Urban Collëctif has developed what it calls a “revolutionary mobility concept” based on an open-source model called Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision. It consists of the Citroën Skate – an autonomous and electric mobility platform – and pods for various services and applications. A concept that several established manufacturers and start-ups are currently pursuing.

“At Citroën we study medium and long-term trends to anticipate consumer expectations and needs. We believe this new concept can redefine the framework for urban mobility: shared, electric and autonomous. With the solution we present in partnership with Accor and JCDecaux, we are reinventing autonomous mobility for everyone.Vincent Cobee, CEO Citroën

The pods developed for The Urban Collëctif are intended for different mobility services: Sofitel En Voyage, an urban mobility experience, Pullman Power Fitness, a new way of exercising while moving, and JCDecaux City Provider, an on-demand urban mobility service.

Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision: An autonomous platform and various pods

The aim of the Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision is to make the city traffic of the future smoother and more pleasant, so that everyone can use the possibilities of the city centers without having to accept disadvantages. The open-source mobility model is shared, providing autonomous mobility that scales with demand. The model is based on a fleet of Citroën Skate transport robots that drive non-stop through the cities and are combined with various pods. The Citroën Skate is the medium and carrier of mobility. The pod docked to the Citroën Skate allows its users to enjoy the service they prefer, whenever they want.

The separation between the Citroën Skate and the Pods is the cornerstone of the concept. Mobility is reinvented and enhanced by creating an autonomous and electric skate fleet and pods that respond to targeted needs such as those of partners – Accor (Sofitel En Voyage and Pullman Power Fitness) and JCDecaux (JCDecaux City Provider), both individually and collectively. This solution, which has a wide range of possible uses, relies on a fleet of driverless, autonomous and connected vehicles that are quiet and are expected to improve traffic flow by at least 35 percent.

To achieve this, the vehicles are designed to travel in dedicated lanes and equipped with Level 5 autonomous technologies (autonomous driverless systems) that are not intended for use in passenger vehicles due to their high cost. To ensure that this mobility remains affordable despite the high costs of autonomous technologies, the system relies on intelligent fleet management and highly flexible, needs-based use.

Citroën Skate: An electric and autonomous platform

The Citroën Skate is an urban mobility solution that can circulate in all city centers on dedicated lanes to ensure fluid and optimized mobility. Autonomous, electric and chargeable via induction, the Citroën Skate can be used almost continuously 24/7 and automatically charged at special charging stations when required. The platform allows the pods to move as needed and can be positioned under the pods in less than ten seconds.

The platform is equipped with all the technology needed to move transportation and logistics pods, freeing the pods from superfluous technology and making autonomous driving viable overall. In comparison, normal cars, according to statistics, are parked more than 95 percent of the time and would never use this technology fully. A kind of ultra-tech skateboard, the Citroën Skate has all the intelligence and technology needed for fully autonomous and purely electric driving: batteries, electric motor and radar and lidar sensors. The maximum speed is limited to 25 km/h to ensure the safety of all users. Speed can be configured based on pod usage to meet demand as efficiently as possible.

The Citroën Skate is characterized by a compact footprint, limited to a length of 2.60 m, a width of 1.60 m and a height of 51 cm. All radar and lidar sensors are hidden behind the Citroën logos to ensure safe, autonomous driving by detecting pedestrians, cars, cyclists, scooters or any other object on the road. Front and back of the skate are optically completely identical, only the lighting of the logos is different – in front white and red red – to significantly indicate other road users the direction of travel. To ensure a high ride comfort while driving and playing the pods ideal, the Citroën skate is equipped with movable hydraulic comfort dampers.

Citroën, Accor & JcDecaux and the future, autonomous, urban mobility-jcdecauxCitroen

The special wheels were designed and developed by Goodyear: These are omnidirectional 360 degree wheels consisting of spherical tires. They are equipped with small electric motors and allow a complete freedom of movement so that the Citroën skate in each direction turn on the spot and can enter the smallest spaces and gaps.

The three pods presented now illustrate the concept and the extent of its potential that is possible by the open source approach. Two pods were developed in collaboration with the hotel chain Accor and show the company’s luxurious top marks: Sofitel (Sofitel en Voyage) and Pullman (Pullman Power Fitness). The third pod was developed with outdoor advertising companies JCDecaux: JcDecaux City Provider.

The Accor Pods: Sofitel en Voyage & Pullman Power Fitness

With the Sofitel en Voyage and Pullman Power Fitness Pods, ACCOR wants to reinvent a world leader in the hotel industry, the “Mobile Hospitality in the City”. The two pods can be reserved via the Accor app. During the development with the Citroën teams special attention was paid to the quality of the materials, the colors, assemblies and the details as well as the interfaces. “Every pod is a bold and modern interpretation of interior and automotive design. They were designed beyond the conventions and standards that applies the industry today, and are characterized by precision technology, high-quality materials, refined aesthetics and redesigned features and applications, “says Damien Perrot, Accor-Global Senior Vice President Design.

Sofitel En Voyage, the first pod born from the collaboration between Accor and Citroën, is an invitation to a new urban mobility with high comfort and reflects the French elegance and way of life, according to the two companies. The Sofitel En Voyage Pod is an architectural combination of glass and marquetry designed to create an intimate atmosphere while remaining open to the outside world. The organic look of the marquetry, a traditional French craftsmanship, is modernized with modern technologies and precise laser cutting, resulting in a bodywork that evokes the city of Paris, French furniture and haute couture. The pod is equipped with automatic glass sliding doors, which allow two to three passengers to sit comfortably on board while their luggage is housed in their own compartment. An interior LED bar displays real-time information such as news, weather, arrival and travel times.

Citroën, Accor & JcDecaux and the future, autonomous, urban mobility-futurecitroen

Everything is geared towards providing Sofitel’s personal service: a bar that opens like a flower to offer drinks and snacks, a sound system, wireless chargers and configurable mood lighting. A touchscreen tablet can also be used to hold a video conference with a Sofitel concierge, for example to arrange a restaurant or theater reservation.

The Pullman Power Fitness Pod is the second pod to emerge from the partnership between Accor and Citroën. It reflects Pullman Hotels & Resorts’ vision to redefine the boundaries of fitness. As part of the Power Fitness program, Pullman guests can take their performance to the next level – with 24-hour classes, integrated technology, in a fun environment. The Power Fitness program is encapsulated in the Pullman Power Fitness Pod, designed to make commute times more meaningful to optimize fitness excellence. In the Pullman Power Fitness Pod, the sole user can train independently while driving through the city: with the rowing machine on one side and the bike on the other.

Citroën, Accor & JcDecaux and the future, autonomous, urban mobility-accorcitroen

The Pullman Power Fitness Pod features an unusual glass design with dichroic patterns in the shape of blinds, along with iridescent tones of blue, purple, pink and green. In this way, the privacy of the passengers is protected, while at the same time the view of the outside is preserved. An audio and lighting system that can be adjusted via an LED bar provides a special effect: modes with different colors and lighting moods, which are tailored to the respective sport, are intended to create an invigorating and regenerating experience for the user. A digital coach appearing on a holographic screen encourages the athlete to perform even better while providing information about the route. The energy gained from the training is used to charge the batteries of the Citroën Skate.

The JCDecaux Pod: JCDecaux City Provider

JCDecaux City Provider is the result of the partnership between Citroën and JCDecaux, one of the world leaders in outdoor advertising, offering its street furniture and services in more than 80 countries. JCDecaux has also been active in bike sharing since 2003. Complementing public and private transport, JCDecaux City Provider offers a new on-demand urban transport solution accessible to all users. Inspired by the street furniture, the pod features a clean, timeless and functional design, offering comfort and space on board. It combines different materials and textures to give passengers a comfortable stay – structured black, satin aluminum grey, dark tinted windows, but also light wood and plants.

Citroën, Accor & JcDecaux and the future, autonomous, urban mobility-futurecitroen

JCDecaux City Provider offers two welcoming spaces facing each other under a green roof: an open area protected from the weather by a canopy and a closed and bright glazed area with an original arrangement of mood lights. Up to five people can board and travel in a comfortable and bright environment that offers a good view of the city. Inside, USB sockets are available for passengers to charge mobile devices. Two interactive screens are designed to enhance the mobility experience with information and useful services for the current journey, as well as information about cultural, tourist and community life and the discovery of new activities that the pod can control if desired.

Open Source: Citroën Skate as a basis for many other pods

In addition to the pods designed as part of The Urban Collëctif, other services are conceivable. Thanks to the separation between the Citroën Skate and the Pod, creativity can be given free rein to develop new applications and new visions for individual and collective transport. Partnerships can go far beyond the borders of the automotive industry to make this vision a reality, according to Citroën in a recent press release.

Thanks to the open-source approach, which allows any third party to develop a pod compatible with the Skate’s technical specifications, the possibilities are extremely diverse: cities, authorities and companies can use the Skate’s technology by offering their develop their own pods for people transportation, services or consumer goods in public or private spaces such as airports, factories or convention centers, whatever their needs.

Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision offers a variety of flexible and affordable services. A wide range of public services covering different aspects of citizens’ daily life could also be included, including transport, health and waste. With a skate fleet, the municipalities could better cushion the peaks in transport demand during peak traffic times and offer a needs-based range of transport during off-peak times as well as safe and noise-free transport options at night. The skate fleet also opens new horizons in the field of mobile, local and personal public services and can be used for example for pharmacies in the delivery of medicines, in food delivery, as a mobile food truck and in the security sector.

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