Carmakers establish urban mobility research hub in Barcelona

Car manufacturers SEAT and Volkswagen have partnered with Catalonia’s UPC university to launch a research hub focusing on urban mobility.

The research platform, known as CARNET (Cooperative Automotive Research Network), will use the city of Barcelona — one of the world’s top ten smart cities — to test new technological solutions and concepts designed to improve quality of life in the field of mobility.

According to a joint statement, the partners plan to create and implement innovative technology addressing the challenges associated with increasing urban migration through new mobility systems and more efficient ways of using vehicles.

“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 three partners said.

Initiatives already underway include a project involving multimodal hubs and stations for mobility and urban transport; an app for locating parking spaces; and a ride-sharing platform.

“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,” explained Dr Matthias Rabe, SEAT vice-president for R&D. “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,” added 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.”

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