Autonomous skateboards could be the basis of urban transport of the future
No one really knows what the future of urban transportation looks like, but chances are it will involve an electric skateboard.
Why is this important: Car manufacturers like Citroën imagine a future based on the same basic foundation: A “skateboard” chassis made up of a flat battery and four wheels. What goes on above the skateboard is open to interpretation – from the robotic axis to delivery vans and more.
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Driving the news: Citroën and two other big French companies are showcasing breathtaking new concepts, including a rolling hotel lounge and a wheeled gym, all connected to an autonomous robot known as the Citroën Skate.
Citroën has partnered with Europe’s largest hotel company, Accor, and outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux, also a leader in urban bicycle rental, as part of an autonomous mobility initiative called The Urban Collëctif.
Together, they came up with around 60 autonomous driving experiences that would allow people to explore cities in new ways.
How it works: The concepts – all futuristic and not ready for a street corner near you – are based on Citroën’s vision for an “open source mobility model” that adapts to diverse needs.
Accor, for example, wishes to extend the customer experience outside the walls of its hotels:
Travelling, it would therefore be a chic lounge – with a bar and a virtual connection with the concierge – to transport travelers and their luggage from the station to the hotel.
Fitness power would be a moving vehicle with a rower and stationary bike for travelers who want to train while driving through town.
City supplier would be an open-air rolling park, with a green roof over your head and interactive screens to plan your excursion.
Funny details: The most interesting feature of the Citroën Skate could be its Goodyear tires: they are spherical, which would allow the pods to move in any direction.
Yes, but: The Citroën Skate is designed to run in dedicated lanes, which means that they go in roughly one direction. Having dedicated lanes would improve traffic flow by 35%, says Citroën.
Citroën chief design officer Pierre Leclercq said his team came up with more than 60 capsule ideas in just two days, ranging from a mobile optician to a hair salon, Car Magazine reported.
The context: While other car makers haven’t shown such distant concepts, almost all of them are working on some sort of modular skateboard platform that will be the basis for new models.
GM, for example, designs luxury cars, pickup trucks, delivery vans and cruise robots on its Ultium EV platform.
Toyota’s e-Palette can be customized for drivers or freight.
The bottom line: Autonomous electric vehicles could potentially change the way people experience city life – making roads safer and less congested while connecting them to jobs, housing, shopping and entertainment.
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