► Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision revealed
► Electric skateboard with choice of pods on top
► 'Skate' could be on the road in five-seven years
Citroën has teamed up with two other French companies to create a concept for self-driving electric city transport called the Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision.
It involves car-size pods (called the Skate) that would operate in dedicated lanes, with wireless inductive charging. The hope is that the concept could become reality in five to seven years to provide off-peak transport for individuals or small groups – so not replacing commuter buses and trains, and not replacing private cars for longer weekend trips, but offering a highly efficient, sustainable option for cross-city journeys.
Citroën CEO Vincent Cobée said: 'We clearly wish to shake the status quo.'
What's so special about the Skate pod?
Underpinning the pods is a Citroën electric skateboard-style platform measuring 2.6 metres long, 1.6 metres wide and 51cm high, running on a spherical wheel at each corner, capable of turning in any direction, on tyres specially developed by Goodyear. It could travel at up to 25km/h (16mph). Lidar, radar and other sensors are built into each edge of the skateboard.
Citroën and its partners – JC Decaux, the advertising infrastructure company best known for its bus stops and cycle-sharing schemes, and hospitality company Accor – showcased three possible pods. En Voyage is a luxurious lounge, intended for transporting business travellers from train station to hotel. Power Fitness has an on-board rowing machine and exercise bike. City Provider – which resembles a cross between a London black cab, an open-backed bus and a bus stop – offers family transport.
Citroën design chief, Pierre Leclercq, said his team came up with more than 60 ideas for pods in just two days, ranging from a mobile optician to a barber shop.
Why has Citroën made this?
'It's our role today to bring disruptive and possible solutions on the road. It's as important as when we replaced the horse by the engine,' said Leclercq.
Cobée stressed that this concept was the start of a conversation, which would need to involve city authorities, transport providers and manufacturers. Citroën would remain owners of the skateboard, but it would take an 'open source' attitude to co-operating with anyone who wanted to develop pods.
'It's able to provide a solution within the visible future,' said Cobée. He could imagine the planning, finance and technology all being aligned in five to seven years from now.
'The solution is probably only going to come from a collaboration. It's a form of collective social responsibility. What we see today is not cutting it. This is do-able. It needs more people than us around the table.'
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