Eighty per cent of the world population will live in and around large cities in the next few decades. It has been both estimated and shown that twenty-first century societies worldwide will be mainly urban.
The impact of this situation can be felt in all areas, including the environment, resource management, culture and work. Mobility of people and goods is one of the pillars of development of any community. As communities grow, there is an increasing need to organise and optimise public and private transport, as well as associated aspects such as energy and safety. In short, it is essential to increase sustainability.
All of these factors are the responsibility of government departments, but not exclusively. Companies and non-profit organisations are also involved in managing urban mobility.
CARNET has arisen precisely through this new model of collaboration between public and private entities to develop innovative global projects, designed to implement initiatives associated with better quality of life for all citizens.
CARNET is a pioneering project in which the public sector (the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) and the private sector (SEAT and Volkswagen) collaborate in activities that contribute to the design of future urban mobility. Other companies and organisations such as Altran, Applus Idiada, Ficosa, RACC and Rücker Lypsa have become members of CARNET.
CARNET’s activities are focused on three main areas:
- Identifying and fostering talent through a variety of training courses.
- Carrying out corporate research to develop innovation projects.
- Networking in national and International networks in the sector.
To be successful, mobility must be analysed comprehensively, using an approach that includes the perspectives of academic and research institutions, companies in the sector, regulators, suppliers and users. This is the only way to guarantee results that are reliable and beneficial for everyone.
In the era of smart cities, open innovation, and mobility as a key factor in relations at local and global level, companies understand that they need to be associated with other organisations that provide the knowledge, information and analysis required to tackle objectives as ambitious as those proposed in CARNET. For this reason, Volkswagen Group Research has put its trust in the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya to launch this initiative, which arose as a result of close collaboration between the UPC and SEAT over many years in the SEAT-UPC Chair. The UPC Technology Center (CIT UPC), which is responsible for the technical coordination of the SEAT Chair, is also responsible for coordinating CARNET, to give continuity and a global dimension to this collaboration. Barcelona, which is ranked in the Top Ten smart cities in EuropeÂ and has a network for analysing and monitoring traffic, parking and pollution levels, is the perfect location for the project.
Aspects such as vehicle design, energy consumption, materials, emissions and connectivity will be analysed from a global perspective on the basis of the expert, specialised work of researchers and technologists such as those who work at the UPC, with coordination and management provided by the CIT UPC. Heads of companies, those responsible for public spaces, and government bodies are also invited to participate in CARNET.
To achieve this, CARNET is based on a new paradigm that goes beyond the concept of a smart city. This is called WISE city (Wellness and Walkable [W], Intelligence and ICT [I], Sustainable and Safety [S], Ecology, Energy and Economy [E]) and focuses on citizens and on different ways to improve their quality of life with the help of technology. In a future article we will stop at this inspiring concept of the urban mobility of the future.
As mobility affects us all, find out more about the project and participate through our website.