Tech

Citroën's Skate is basically an autonomous hotel on wheels

Its futuristic EV platform makes urban commuting look cozy.

Leaving the comfort of your couch can be tough, but it’d be a lot less daunting if you could take that level of luxurious, sedentary relaxation with you on the road.

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Citroën’s Skate EV platform wants to make that happen

While still just a concept, Skate, a modular and autonomous EV platform unveiled by Citroën this month, makes the future of urban commuting look pretty plush. Citroën envisions the Skate itself as a squat, low-profile, EV that tops out at about 15 mph.

Bulbous, spherical tires allow it to move adeptly in any direction and navigate tight city streets. Skate vehicles would have their own dedicated lanes and could be hailed privately on a per-trip basis.

The real fun, however, lies is in the various “pods” designed to sit atop the Skate, all of which are designed to accommodate different types of commuter experiences and needs. For instance...

The Softiel En Voyage

This pod was born out of a collaboration between Citroën and France-based hospitality company, Accor. This thing is essentially a hotel on wheels — it’s got a bar with snacks and drinks and a dedicated compartment for luggage. A display inside would update travelers on weather, messages, and more.

Pullman Power Fitness

Maybe you prefer a more active commuting experience. If you feel like you need to get some reps in, the Pullman Power Fitness pods offers a built-in rowing machine and exercise bike. A “holographic screen” would also broadcast a virtual coach to help you keep that momentum.

JCDecaux City Provider

The City Provider is by far the most utilitarian pod, if such a thing exists. It seats five passengers, has a display for “useful information” (or advertisements presumably), and has some nice flora on its roof to remind you that plant life still exists in the concrete jungle you’ve chosen to traverse.

While Citroën’s Skate may seem like more of a moonshot than a vision for the future, it’s in some ways closer to reality than full-fledged autonomous vehicles being promised by Tesla. For one, these pods only travel at 15 mph, so they don’t have nearly as high of a regulatory hurdle to overcome. Also, similar robot taxis, like those made by Optimus, have already been tested in major cities like New York.

I, for one, embrace any future that closes the gap between my couch and my commute. If this is the future of autonomous vehicles, Skate can’t come fast enough.