Transport is an essential requirement in daily life, especially in cities. With their strong appeal, cities are seeing their populations increase so travel conditions need to be revamped. At the same time, the Covid-19 crisis has heightened city-dwellers’ expectations for cleaner, safer, more flexible modes of travel that comply with social distancing rules, thereby influencing the development of the urban landscape and smart mobility solutions for the future. The emergence of autonomous vehicles could help reduce congestion in cities; however, these solutions have no medium-term economic viability due to the high cost of autonomous driving technologies compared with uptake.
To respond to this problem, Citroën, Accor and JCDecaux have teamed up to form a creative and committed partnership called The Urban Collëctif. Driven by the belief that future mobility must address safety and well-being, The Urban Collëctif has created a revolutionary mobility concept, drawing on its 200 years of combined experience in innovation. Using an open-source model dubbed Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision, this concept relies on:
- an autonomous and electric mobility platform: The Citroën Skate
- and Pods for different services and applications.
By separating the platform from the mobility services, this concept offers the opportunity to maximise the use of autonomous technology while expanding service offerings. The Citroën Skate can move all Pods on demand using a dedicated track, while offering unrivalled comfort thanks to Citroën’s century-old expertise.
Pods designed for The Urban Collëctif illustrate the potential of open-source approaches by offering three innovative and highly different mobility services: Sofitel En Voyage, an exclusive urban mobility experience, Pullman Power Fitness, a new way of playing sport while moving, and JCDecaux City Provider, 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 solution we are presenting in partnership with Accor and JCDecaux, we are inventing autonomous mobility for all.”
Vincent Cobée, Citroën General Manager
“We are delighted to be teaming up with Citroën and JCDecaux for this innovative project. With nearly 5,200 hotels worldwide, our Group is active in the local ecosystem and committed to offering ever more exclusive experiences, both to travellers and local communities, while contributing to the development of sustainable cities. Extending the hotel experience outside the walls of our establishments is in line with our bold and modern vision of hospitality.”
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Accor
“Teaming up with public and private partners to develop innovative and useful solutions to sustainably improve city life is fully in line with JCDecaux’s mission. The result of a close collaboration with Citroën and Accor, The Urban Collëctif symbolises JCDecaux’s desire to continue to innovate and imagine the urban mobility services of the future.”
Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux
01. An on demand solution to ease congestion in cities and enhance comfort
- MOBILITY – A MAJOR CHALLENGE FOR CITIES OF THE FUTURE
Whether it involves accessing work, education, healthcare or leisure activities, mobility is an essential need. Along with cars and bikes in offering freedom and escape, the future of mobility is set to be shared, diverse comfortable, urban, and long distance with the growth of distance purchasing and home deliveries, the complexity linked to traffic jams and parking in urban centres, and the difficulty of meeting everyone’s travel needs regardless of the region, the mobility paradigm is shifting.
Cities are constantly growing and are attracting those seeking jobs, high-quality services and cultural, social and community life. The World Bank predicts that two thirds of the population will live in cities by 2050. In this context, how can we improve daily journeys? In increasingly sprawling, traffic-clogged cities with sometimes saturated public transport networks, imagining the transport of the future opens up new horizons. The game is changing, soft mobility is increasing and autonomous mobility is expanding the range of possibilities.
- CITROËN AUTONOMOUS MOBILITY VISION – A NEW MODEL FOR SHARED AUTONOMOUS MOBILITY
Given this observation, it is necessary to rethink urban mobility so that everyone to enjoy all the opportunities offered by urban centres, without any of the disadvantages. Making the city more fluid, more pleasant and more human is the promise of Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision.
This is a revolutionary open-source mobility model that is collective and shared, offering autonomous mobility which adapts to demand. The model relies on a fleet of The Citroën Skate transport robots which move around cities non-stop and are, paired with Pods that promise unique experiences. The Citroën Skate is the medium and the conveyor of mobility. The Pod, attached to The Citroën Skate, allows its users to enjoy their preferred service, whenever they wish.
The separation between The Citroën Skate and the Pods is the cornerstone of the concept, offering fluid and inventive urban mobility. By creating an autonomous and electric The Citroën Skate fleet, as well as Pods that respond to targeted needs, such as those of our partners’ – Accor (Sofitel En Voyage and Pullman Power Fitness) and JCDecaux (JCDecaux City Provider) –mobility is being reinvented and improved, both individually and collectively
This technological solution that offers a multitude of possible uses draws on a fleet of The Citroën Skates and Pods, driverless, autonomous and interconnected, which travel quietly and improve traffic fluidity by at least 35%. To achieve this, The Citroën Skates are designed to travel in dedicated lanes, and are fitted to integrate into the urban environment in the most efficient and economical way. Proposing an autonomous vehicle on public roads for private customers, beyond the technological challenge, would be extremely expensive. On the contrary, the Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision is based on the perfect adequacy between the Pods, The Citroën Skate and the infrastructure. Therefore, thanks to the use of dedicated lanes, the overall solution cost is optimized. Moreover its use is maximized through an on demand smart fleet management.
02. The Urban Collëctif: cross collaborations and unbridled creativity
Citroën, Accor and JCDecaux, three international companies with 200 years of combined experience in innovation, boldness and services, have formed an engaged and visionary collective – The Urban Collëctif. This collaboration has produced a shared vision of urban mobility in order to shake things up, take time out and put the fun back in city travel by combining the three partners’ collective intelligence and experience in the fields of mobility, hospitality and cities.
This brand new mobility platform offers urban experiences curated by three partners’ know-how and expertise. It is built on a layer of technological, electric and autonomous Citroën mobility – The Citroën Skate. The three Pods illustrate the concept and extent of its potential, which is possible because of its open-source approach. Two Pods were developed with Accor and highlight two of the luxury, top-of-the-line brands in its portfolio: Sofitel (Sofitel En Voyage) and Pullman (Pullman Power Fitness). The third was designed with JCDecaux: JCDecaux City Provider.
- The Accor Pods: sofitel en voyage & pullman power fitness
Through its Sofitel En Voyage and Pullman Power Fitness Pods, Accor, a world leader in the hotel industry, is inventing “mobile hospitality in the city”, enabling all of its customers as well as city-dwellers to immerse themselves in its brand experience outside its hotel walls.
With 200 years of combined experience in interior design and French automotive design, this partnership has given rise to innovative and daring Pods. During development with the Citroën teams, particular attention was paid to the quality of the materials, colours, assemblies and details, as well as the interfaces.
Damien Perrot, Global Senior Vice-President Design at Accor, comments: “Each Pod 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.”
Eventually, the two Pods could be reserved using the ALL – Accor Live Limitless app, the everyday lifestyle companion that brings together and enhances all the brands, services and partnerships operating within Accor’s ecosystem.
Steven Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Accor, notes: “The presentation of the Sofitel En Voyage and Pullman Power Fitness Pods is a new example of our augmented hospitality strategy. We are resolutely focused on making our brands increasingly more visible and more relevant, in order to be there for our guests, beyond their stays in our hotels.”
More than ever, brands and sustainable urban mobility are central to the vision of augmented hospitality offered by Accor.
- Sofitel En Voyage
Sofitel En Voyage, the first Pod born from the collaboration between Accor and Citroën, is an invitation to a new urban mobility, a journey with exceptional comfort, chic services and breath-taking views.
Like Sofitel, which was the first French luxury hotel brand to expand internationally, the Sofitel En Voyage Pod reflects French elegance and art de vivre.
Whether heading to the best restaurants, the finest boutiques, to catch a train or a flight, to explore the city or simply to work, guests can live Sofitel’s “The French Way” experience at their own pace, however they choose, on the move and on demand.
Spectacular and statuesque, the Sofitel En Voyage Pod is an architectural parallelepiped of glass and marquetry, creating an intimate atmosphere while being fully open to the outside.
The organic look of the wood marquetry, a traditional French skill, is modernised thanks to cutting-edge technologies and high-precision laser cutting, creating bodywork that evokes the city of Paris, French furniture and haute couture. This remarkable marquetry work subtly enhances the luxurious and modern atmosphere, while sifting the light through a system of screens.
Acting as a counterpoint, the use of flat glass reveals a welcoming and warm interior that is sophisticated and refined, in blood orange velvet tones from floor to ceiling, evoke a discreet approach to contemporary luxury.
Featuring automatic glazed sliding doors, the Pod would allow two to three passengers to sit comfortably on board together, with their luggage in a dedicated compartment. An interior scrolling LED strip would display information in real time, such as personal messages, news, weather, arrival and travel times.
Everything is designed to deliver the personalized Sofitel service, with a bar that opens like a flower to the touch to offer drinks and snacks, a sound system, induction chargers and a configurable mood lighting.
Ultimate proof of the Sofitel service, 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.
- Pullman Power Fitness
The Pullman Power Fitness Pod is the second Pod born from the partnership between Accor and Citroën and reflects Pullman Hotels & Resorts ‘vision for boundary pushing fitness., Within its Power Fitness programme, Pullman’s community of guests are challenged to take their performance to the next level, with 24-hour classes, integrated technology and a stylish fun environment. The Pullman brand continues to be a game changer as it positions itself as the premier hotel brand for fitness
The Power Fitness programme, which is being rolled out to Pullman’s network of more than 140 hotels and resorts around the world, is innovatively summarized in the Pullman Power Fitness Pod, which illustrates a modern vision of transportation that makes commuting times more useful to optimise peak fitness performance.
The Pullman Power Fitness Pod would therefore extends the athletic energy of Pullman’s fitness facilities where the sole user could exercise independently and immersively, with the rower on one side and the bike on the other, while travelling through the city.
The Pullman Power Fitness Pod is characterised by an unusual glass bubble incorporating dichroic patterns in the form of blinds, echoing Pullman’s graphic and colour conventions, along with iridescent shades of blue, purple, pink and green. The occupant’s privacy is therefore protected, while maintaining a view of the outside.
The deliberately futuristic and avant-garde atmosphere perfectly illustrates the symbiosis between sport, music and light. A customisable audio and lighting system via an LED strip provides a unique effect, with three modes including three colours and light ambiences adjusted for the choice of exercise, thereby creating a unique, exhilarating and regenerating experience for the user.
True to Pullman’s hyperconnected spirit, a digital coach, appearing on a holographic screen, would encourage the user, all while providing route information and entertainment during a next-level cardio session.
Exercising within the pod will would also be useful for charging The Citroën Skate’s batteries.
- JCDecaux City Provider
JCDecaux City Provider emerged from the partnership between Citroën and JCDecaux, the world leader in outdoor advertising that provides useful, sustainable street furniture and services in over 80 countries. Its street furniture sets the benchmark across the world in terms of innovation, quality, aesthetics and functionality and its self-service bicycles have revolutionised soft mobility in cities since 2003.
With JCDecaux City Provider, JCDecaux remains faithful to its innovation strategy for the sustainable improvement of quality of life in cities. As smart cities enter our lives, JCDecaux is positioning itself to be one of the major players in this sector and is already involved in fostering the emergence of an increasingly human, open and sustainable smart city.
A true complementary service, between public and private transport, JCDecaux City Provider offers an innovative on-demand urban transport solution accessible to all users. Easy to board by passengers with luggage, a pushchair, using a wheelchair, alone or with other people, JCDecaux City Provider is a solution accessible to all, which facilitates mobility in the city by offering more freedom and choice when travelling. The Pod offers its occupants the best route between departure point and destination thanks to the smart autonomous technology, which optimises time and distance while ensuring a pleasant and peaceful experience in the heart of the city.
Inspired by JCDecaux street furniture, JCDecaux City Provider is infused with pure shapes, a timeless, sober and functional design, offering comfort and space on board. It combines various materials and textures to accommodate passengers in comfort – textured black, satin aluminium grey, dark-tinted windows, as well as a light wood aesthetic and plants.
JCDecaux City Provider offers two welcoming spaces facing each other, sheltered under a green, planted roof: an open area, protected from the weather by an awning, and a closed and bright glazed area with an original layout of mood lighting. Up to five people can be welcomed on board and travel in a comfortable and bright environment, offering great visibility over the city. Inside, passengers have USB sockets at their disposal to charge all mobile devices. Two interactive screens enhance the mobility experience, with information and useful services for planning and tracking journeys, obtaining information on cultural, tourist and community life and discovering new places, as well as proposed activities which the Pod can head towards on request.
With its open design, JCDecaux City Provider restores the magic of urban travel for everyone.
- The cCitroën Skate
- On-board technology for improved city travel
The Citroën 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 Citroën Skate can operate almost continuously, 24/7, charging itself automatically when necessary at dedicated charging bases.
The Citroën Skate is a mobility platform that 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. The Citroën Skate is a universal mobility platform that can be used to move all kinds of Pods, thereby increasing the use of technology in everyday life.
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 25 km/h or 5 km/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.
The Citroën Skate 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 mobility solution.
- Design showcasing technology
Featuring the formal patterns of the ultra-technical underbody used on 19_19 Concept*, the design of The Citroën Skate highlights the embedded technology with real attention to detail: macro-chevrons and materials with dark shades combining black mat and aluminium looks, acting as a showcase for the Pods placed on top. The double-chevron logo, which is outsized and proudly displayed at the centre of The Citroën Skate, reinterprets the Brand’s original logo by playing with textures and materials. It carries on the torch of 19_19 Concept, which included these features.
*19_19 Concept is a concept car developed by Citroën in 2019, the brand’s centennial year, offering a vision of ultra-comfort and extra-urban mobility to get away from the city.
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 Citroën 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 unparalleled driving comfort during travel, as well as to accommodate the Pods comfortably and without jolts, The Citroën Skate is fitted with movable hydraulic cushions. Citroën Advanced Comfort® logos provide a reminder that Citroën is synonymous with comfort, whatever the type of vehicle.
- Goodyear wheels
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 spectacularly designed and extraordinarily dimensioned wheels on 19_19 Concept. For The Citroën Skate, Goodyear developed omnidirectional Eagle 360 wheels, comprised of spherical tyres feature 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.
03. Open source: moving towards infinite pods, meeting a variety of uses
Other services can be imagined in addition to the Pods designed as part of The Urban Collëctif. Thanks to the separation between The Citroën Skate and the Pod, creativity can be unleashed to develop new applications and new visions for individual and collective transport. Partnerships that go well beyond the borders of the automotive industry should be considered to allow this vision to become a reality.
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 offers, in public or private spaces such as airports, factories or convention centres.
Citroën 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 Citroën Skate fleet. Numerous public services covering various aspects of citizens’ daily lives could also be involved, including transport, health and waste. With a The 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.
In response to the major challenges of our time, The Urban Collëctif offers an innovative and sustainable urban mobility solution which facilitates urban living.