The city of Barcelona has been selected to host ‘CARNET project’
(Cooperative Automotive Research Network). Promoted by UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia) SEAT, and Volkswagen Group Research, CARNET it’s the first big research and innovation hub focusing on the field of automotive and urban mobility.
This Research Platform has found the Catalan capital to be the perfect location for a variety of reasons; it’s name is listed in the exclusive ranking Top 10 smart cities of the world and it has very competitive technological tools on hand, such as streetlight sensors distributed all over the metropolitan area, which gather a very useful data about traffic patterns, parking areas and air pollution.
The automobile industry is examining three different areas of innovation; electrification, car connectivity and self-driving vehicles, all of which will bring a new way of thinking about mobility. The future of the automotive industry depends on research and innovation; the first of these areas, electrification, entails the progressive replacement of the fossil fuel-powered urban car fleet with electric vehicles, which run on cleaner energy that produces no acoustic or air pollution.
CARNET Project places Barcelona at the helm of R&D to find technological solutions in sustainable mobility and sets it on its way towards a new paradigm: WISE (Wellness, Walkable; Intelligence and ICT; Sustainable and Safety, Ecology, Energy and Economy) cities. The WISE program focuses mainly on citizens and the ways in which technology can help them in their daily lives. Some of the solutions it presents are:
Microcities: This project revolves around turning, parking areas in specific areas, like shopping malls and public equipment’s into people-oriented service centres, with the goal of facilitating maximum access to main urban points of interest. These parking areas would serve as multimodal transition spaces from private automobiles to trains, subways, bicycles, shared cars and electric vehicles.
Parkfinder: A mobile app installed in private vehicles that locates available parking spaces in real time. In order to guarantee the safety of its use while driving, its user interface meets the strict guidelines of the Drive Distraction Rules.
Urban Co-Car: This project focuses on the analysis and evaluation of the impact of Car Sharing making it efficient, flexible and profitable.
Creative Lab: A pioneer educational initiative in Spain, both academy and business-oriented, whose goal is to encourage students to develop new ideas to redesign the idea of urban transportation and create a new concept of mobility in the city.
CARNET aims to build bridges for cooperation between academics and industry, enabling integration of students as workforce, and encouraging them to write doctoral theses that relate to research projects of industrial interest, through a program of industrial doctorates.
We would like to highlight the UPC Master’s Degree in Renewable Energy and Electric Mobility, –part of the university’s Master’s programs–, which handles subjects such as the basics of electrical engineering and power generation, allowing for an analysis and understanding of electric circuitry and machinery, as well as the application of renewable energies like wind and photovoltaic, together with different technologies pertaining to electric mobility.
Collaborative research, engineering and scientific training and taking part in international networks are the three fundamental cornerstones of CARNET activity. In this context, some of the projects the platform has started are already transforming the automotive sector and will revolutionize urban mobility.