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SEAT, UPC and VW Group Research select Barcelona to create mobility of the future with CARNET
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SEAT, UPC and VW Group Research select Barcelona to create mobility of the future with CARNET

Posted by Zenobia HegdeJune 3, 2016

SEAT, the Universitat Politècnica de Cataluña (UPC) and Volkswagen Group Research are kicking off CARNET –Cooperative Automotive Research Network–, the first major research and innovation hub to focus on the automotive field and urban mobility of the future of Barcelona.

This knowledge and cooperation platform between industry and university has selected the city as a proving ground to test new technological solutions and concepts that will improve the quality of life of the members of the community in the field of mobility.

Some of the CARNET initiatives currently underway include a project involving microcities or new, multimodal hubs and stations for mobility and urban transport, an app for locating parking spaces and a ride-sharing platform.

Through this network of cooperation in innovation and research into urban mobility in Barcelona, university and industry create a common front to create, develop and implement innovative technology aimed at addressing the challenges of future urban lifestyles: new mobility systems and new, more efficient ways of using vehicles.

UPC rector Enric Fossas said that this partnership “originated in the SEAT Chair of the UPC, an academic entity that has evolved towards more transversal action: an industry and university network that, operating in a city such as Barcelona, is an opportunity to promote new ideas and carry out urban projects on the leading edge of knowledge, some of which with the participation by UPC students and post-graduate students”.

“The automotive industry targets three areas for innovation: electrification, the connected car and autonomous driving, and all three will lead us to new concepts in mobility. The future of the industry depends on research and innovation”, pointed out SEAT vice-president for R&D Dr. Matthias Rabe. “SEAT wants to be a leading brand in the development of new mobility solutions and CARNET is our commitment to creating the urban mobility of the future in Barcelona, the city that serves as the inspiration for our vehicles”.

“Mobility in the automotive sector is undergoing a paradigm shift and new skills and technologies will be needed in the future”, asserted Volkswagen Group Research executive director Professor Dr. Jürgen Leohold. “Through CARNET, Volkswagen Group Research aims to develop ideas and promote projects in Barcelona, one of the most attractive smart cities for the study of mobility”.

By 2050 the 70% of the world’s population will live in cities

As a result of the increasing urban migration of recent years, cities all over the planet are getting bigger and the trend in sprawling megacities seems unstoppable. A transformation and revolution in urban living is expected, which will require us to rethink mobility from global perspectives that integrate all components: infrastructures, traffic systems, vehicle use and resources such as energy, space and time, which are increasingly limited.

The challenges facing metropolitan areas and vehicle manufacturers can be seen in trends such as smart cities, where urban services are being improved and becoming more efficient by exploiting the distributed control of highly sensorised equipment and infrastructure. It is also reflected in connected driving, which enables online services and mobile communication among vehicles, for safer, more efficient driving.

In this context, some of the projects begun by CARNET are already transforming the way people drive and are on their way to revolutionising urban mobility: apps giving the best routes and transport options, intelligent traffic and transport management systems, mobility assistive robots or innovative communications and connectivity systems, among others, which will turn metropolitan areas into more intelligent spaces that are better to live in.

At the same time, new car-sharing platforms and flexible, on-demand, door to door public transport systems are being studied to facilitate mobility and save time and resources.

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