SEAT Metropolis:Lab Barcelona, wholly owned by the company and integrated in the Volkswagen Group’s network of IT-Labs, was formally opened November 14th in the framework of the Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 being held in Barcelona. The inauguration was attended by several personalities of the technology sector who were invited to the event organised by SEAT, including Miquel Martí, the CEO of Barcelona Tech City, the benchmark hub of Europe’s entrepreneurial ecosystem where Metropolis:Lab Barcelona is located.
The goal of this digital centre of excellence, which began operating last April, is to analyse and find smart solutions for the challenges facing mobility of tomorrow and contribute to SEAT’s positioning as a leading benchmark in connected car. In this sense, Luca de Meo, who participated in the inauguration ceremony, underscored that “this lab relies on a combination of mobile technology and Big Data to optimise the relationship between the public, the smart city and mobility services. We aim to improve mobility and make people’s lives safer, more sustainable and more efficient in the smart cities where we live”.
During the event, the initiatives being developed by the team at the lab were presented for the first time. The one that is now a reality is the ‘About it’ app, which is intended to improve mobility in Barcelona. Among other functions, it displays areas of the city where construction work is carried out that could affect traffic or black points with the highest concentration of traffic accidents in the city.
Two further major projects being developed were also announced. Jose Nascimento highlighted “a ride-sharing app aimed at easing public mobility with the creation of communities that share intraurban commutes”. Furthermore, he also gave insights into “the on demand bus project, geared to optimising the use of existing bus lines by offering flexible routes that adapt to real time demand”. A pilot test of this initiative is already being implemented in Wolfsburg, Germany and will be adapted to Barcelona in a second phase.
The creation of this lab follows the agreement signed between SEAT and the Barcelona city council to promote innovation, sustainable mobility and attracting new talent to the city. At the same time, the company is invested in CARNET, the first great open research and innovation hub focussed on the automotive sector and urban mobility in the city of Barcelona, with the collaboration of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Volkswagen Group Research.
In addition, last July the carmaker announced the location of Casa SEAT in the heart of Barcelona, on the corner of Paseo de Gracia and Avenida Diagonal. It is a multidisciplinary facility aimed at connecting with the city’s cultural and economic pulse, with the firm intention of becoming the meeting point of new trends and local and international talent. Casa SEAT’s inauguration is scheduled for late 2018.