The Citroen Skate is an autonomous electric vehicle platform that could decongest city streets

The car industry is undergoing massive change right now as vehicle propulsion switches to electrification, but many companies are also looking at more general mobility needs that could be met in the future.

That’s where the new Citroen Skate concept comes in, an autonomous electric vehicle platform that can transport ‘pods’ with various functions.

The French firm has teamed up with hospitality firm Accor and advertising company JCDecaux to form ‘The Urban Collëctif’, creating examples of how such a platform could work.

The basis of the concept is the Skate, which is a fully self driving vehicle. Citroen says it should run in separate lanes from regular traffic to ensure it gets around speedily, charging through the road via induction as well as taking itself to fast chargers when required.

Its party piece, though, is the removable pod section. These are said to be swappable in less than 10 seconds, meaning the Skate is always in use, helping to make autonomous technology more profitable.

Different pods could be used to transport people or cargo, meaning time can be optimised based on which use is required at that time. For example, more human transport at rush hour or more cargo overnight.

Three example pods are included in the concept. The Sofitel En Voyage brings the hotel chain’s focus on comfort, allowing for a relaxing journey to an event.

Citroen Skate
The Skate without any pods. (Citroen)

Meanwhile, the Pullman Power Fitness pod would bring fitness classes to travelling, helping commuters make the most of their journey to work. Examples include a bike and row machine that can be used on the move, with a digital coach talking the rider through their exercise.

Finally, the JCDecaux City Provider is a passenger transport module for up to five people that has two spaces facing each other beneath a green, planted roof.

Citroen says it has an open source approach, meaning the pod technology is open to anyone that wishes to design a Skate-compatible module. This would open it up to everything from private transport to goods transport and whatever companies can imagine.