Accor, Citroen and JCDecaux share vision of the future of autonomous urban mobility

30 Sep 2021 by Hannah Brandler
Accor Citroen Urban Collectif

Accor has partnered with car manufacturer Citroen and street furniture maker JCDecaux to launch The Urban Collectif,  a shared vision for the future of urban mobility.

The three French companies have joined forces to design three autonomous electric vehicle concepts (or ‘pods’) which aim to improve transport in ever-growing cities. The pods are designed to decongest cities while also meeting citizens’ needs in terms of mobility, services, safety and wellbeing in urban centres.

The three pods can sit atop The Citroën Skate, an “ultra-tech skateboard” filled with batteries, an electric engine and sensors, which would pick up and drop off the pods as required, and travel on dedicated traffic lanes at speeds of up to 25km/h. Measuring 2.60 metres long, 1.60m wide and 51cm high, it could operate 24/7 and charge itself at dedicated stations.

Vincent Cobée, Citroen General Manager, commented:

“At Citroen, 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.”

Citroen released a video to illustrate its vision:

The Accor-developed ‘Pods’ are inspired by the Sofitel and Pullman brands, and intend to “immerse [customers and city-dwellers] in its brand experience outside its hotel walls”.

Sofitel En Voyage would be able to carry two to three passengers and their luggage, and is designed for luxurious transfers or city experiences. Features include an interior scrolling LED strip providing information such as personal messages, news, arrival and travel times, and weather in real-time; a bar offering drinks and snacks; a sound system, induction chargers and mood lighting. Meanwhile, a touchscreen tablet would allow customers to video call the hotel concierge to arrange a restaurant or theatre reservation.

Accor Sofitel En Voyage

The Pullman Power Fitness pod, inspired by the brand’s fitness ethos, would allow customers to exercise on their commute. It features a rowing machine and exercise bike, a customisable audio and lighting system, and a digital coach who can appear on a holographic screen all the while providing route information and entertainment during a cardio session. On top of this, exercising in the pod would also charge The Citroën Skate’s batteries.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, said:

“We are delighted to be teaming up with Citroen 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.”

Accor Pullman Power Fitness

Finally, JCDecaux partnered with Citroen to create the JCDecaux City Provider, an on-demand urban transport solution which can carry up to five people and aims to make mobility in the city easier for all – it has both pushchair and wheelchair access.

Features include USB sockets to charge mobile devices and two interactive screens with information and useful services for planning and tracking journeys. The pod would also offer the best route thanks to smart autonomous technology, which can optimise time and distance.

Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux, commented:

“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 Citroen and Accor, The Urban Collectif symbolises JCDecaux’s desire to continue to innovate and imagine the urban mobility services of the future.”

The companies cite The World Bank’s prediction that two thirds of the population will live in cities by 2050 as a key incentive to improving urban mobility, and Citroen CEO Vincent Cobée predicts that the concepts could become reality within five to seven years.

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