NEWS - 2023/11/09

IX Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges – The Future of Autonomous & Connected Vehicles

For the ninth consecutive year, the Symposium on Future Mobility Challenges, hosted by CARNET, took place on Monday November 6th, 2023. This annual event has become a cornerstone in the exploration of innovative developments in the field of mobility, bringing together national and international experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As tradition, the symposium kicked off with an introduction by the founding members of CARNET, Dr. Lluis Jofre- Roca (UPC)– Academic Director of CARNET, Alexander Siebeneich (Volkswagen Group Innovation) – Industrial Director of CARNET, and Anna Homs (SEAT)– Creative and Strategic Director of CARNET. The focal point of this year’s Symposium was the future of autonomous and connected vehicles, focusing on how self-driving and connected cars might change our cities and how we get around.

The introduction was followed by a keynote by Aria Etemad, Senior Project Manager t Volkswagen AG, who provided insights into the Hi-Drive Project – a deployment of Automated Driving Features (ADFs) which offers several key advantages: the primary benefit is an increase in safety, achieved through stable longitudinal vehicle control and improved lane-keeping performance. Additionally, ADFs contribute to enhanced transport network efficiency and reduced emissions. They also enhance travel quality and comfort by enabling non-driving related activities. Thesocial benefits of installing ADFs outweigh the associated social costs, making their implementation a promising choice.

As in previous years, the Symposium featured three individual roundtables, each dedicated to a specific facet of the evolving mobility landscape: pilot cases and real-world applications, robotics, data & AI, and testing and validation. The invited speakers gave insights on rules & regulations for these new technologies and as autonomy and connectivity become integral parts of our transportation ecosystem, ensuring as a top priority the safety and reliability of these technologies . In this context,the Symposium emphasized the role of standardized testing procedures and collaborative initiatives to establishing a robust foundation for the widespread adoption of autonomous and connected vehicles.

Out of this, several key take-aways have been identified, like prioritizing seeking external experts and forming partnerships with cities in each country with deployment experience to bolster project success, embracing knowledge-building by engaging in peer-to-peer training, learning from lessons and reports, and receiving training from experts. It was also highlighted how important it is  to analyze both successful and unsuccessful use cases for continuous improvement.

Furthermore, the Symposium emphasized the importance of fostering partnerships and collaboration among industry players, academia, and innovators to pave the way for the introduction of groundbreaking innovations on our streets.

The Symposium facilitated an environment where ideas collided, and visions for the future of mobility converged. The ninth edition endedwith some closing words provided by Dr. Climent Molins Borrell – Vice Chancellor of Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UPC – and Miguel Angel Fernandez Ros – Digital Innovation Manager at Telefónica. The Symposium not only provided a platform for sharing knowledge but also ignited the spark for collaborative efforts that will shape the future of the autonomous sector for years to come.

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