CARNET, a National Research Award for public-private partnership in R&I

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Image of the Virtual Mobility Lab simulation tool, developed by the FIB inLab, which analyzes and evaluates the impact of smart mobility projects in Barcelona

The Future Mobility Research Hub (CARNET) promoted by SEAT, the UPC and Volkswagen Group Research, which focuses on future automotive and urban mobility, has received the 2017 National Award for Public-Private Partnership in Research and Innovation on 15 October.

Oct 26, 2018

The National Research Awards of the Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation foster public recognition for science and the activity of researchers, patrons, entrepreneurs and communicators. The awards ceremony, presided over by Quim Torra, president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, took place at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona at 7 p.m. on15 October.
 
CARNET is the first platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration between industry and the university. It was founded by SEAT, the UPC and Volkswagen Group Research, and uses the city of Barcelona as a testing ground for new technological solutions that improve the quality of life of citizens in the field of mobility. It is open to participation by institutions and companies that wish to meet the challenges of urban mobility. The business partners of the initiative, coordinated by the Innovation and Technology Centre of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (CIT UPC) and supported by the Barcelona City Council, are Altran, Applus+ Idiada, the Cluster of the Automotive Industry of Catalonia (CIAC), ELISAVA, Kineo, Ficosa, the PTV Group, RACC and Rucker Lypsa.

"CARNET is working to turn Barcelona and Catalonia into a laboratory of ideas for new forms of mobility for people and goods that create social and economic opportunities for urban environments thanks to the combination of different types of knowledge and expertise", says Lluís Jofre, academic director of CARNET.

The hub is currently working on several collaborative projects that are transforming the automotive industry and revolutionising urban mobility:

· The Virtual Mobility Lab is a simulation tool developed by inLab at the UPC’s Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB), with the collaboration of Volkswagen Group Research, SEAT, the PTV Group and Kineo. The tool analyses and evaluates the impact of smart mobility projects in Barcelona, allowing the results to be extrapolated before pilot tests are carried out. In one of the first tests, the Virtual Mobility Lab found that by using 500 on-demand shuttles it could reduce the number of private vehicles on the city’s streets by up to 2,000, thus easing traffic congestion and lowering pollution levels. Presented at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, this is a strategic project for CARNET’s partners in view of the growing need for simulation tools to implement new mobility solutions for citizens.

Within the same project, inLab FIB has developed the first detailed multimodal model of the inner ring of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, covering all forms of public transport and private vehicles, and addressing the demand for updated mobility. The new model will support decision makers on mobility policies, transport operators, and companies that develop and wish to evaluate new mobility alternatives.

· An On-demand Shuttle Service: CARNET, together with SEAT, the RACC and the Shotl company, have proposed a new transport system based on vehicles shared on demand. The system offers a more sustainable, efficient and flexible urban mobility model, and has been pilot-tested with UPC students and RACC workers in the Eixample district of Barcelona. inLab FIB provided simulation and optimisation techniques, and the start-up Shotl developed the iOS and Android technologies of the system, as well as the algorithm for planning the route management. 

Talent Creation
CARNET and SEAT organised the Autonomous Driving Challenge aimed at engineering students, who had to develop software capable of moving a vehicle autonomously on a prepared circuit. CARNET also organises Hackathon Mobility BCN every year to foster the design and construction of projects that improve urban mobility.

In addition, the company FICOSA, the Barcelona School of Telecommunications Engineering (ETSETB) and the Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB) organised the first Automotive Embedded Systems seminar, and will hold a second edition in February 2019.

The hub also participates in international networks and competitive calls, creating a high-quality mobility research environment. Last November the UPC organised the Third Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges: Mobility-as-a-Service, and launched the MaaS Catalonia initiative.