Barcelona, 19/12/2016. – The Barcelona Council and SEAT today have entered into an agreement to jointly address the promotion of innovation, sustainable mobility, the implementation of business projects and industrial competitiveness, among other areas of activity. At an event held at the City Council, Mayor Ada Colau and SEAT President Luca de Meo initialled the agreement, which establishes the areas of collaboration between the two sides.
The goal is to contribute SEAT’s expertise in mobility, R&D and business projects to the city in order to promote new initiatives. This provides a basis for stimulating economic and business activity through projects which, in addition, will improve the quality of life of citizens and attract international talent. The collaboration aims to implement shared experiences that will enable the creation of synergies between SEAT and the city’s start-ups, academic environment and small and medium enterprises.
The first project to come out of this agreement and officially confirmed this morning is the Metropolis:Lab Barcelona, the sixth IT-lab of Volkswagen Group, which will be operated by SEAT and headquartered in Barcelona. In this lab, more than 50 engineers and highly skilled professionals will analyse and seek out intelligent solutions for the challenges facing future mobility. A combination of mobile technology and big data will create solutions that provide an easier, more secure and more efficient connection between people, the smart city and mobility-related services in cities of the future.
The implementation of Metropolis:Lab Barcelona is scheduled for 2017. In its first year, the centre will be staffed with more than 20 specialists and the team will be expanded to some 50 members in the next years. They will work on competencies and skills related with smart mobility, combining vehicle data with their environment to develop apps. The solutions are to be used by all Volkswagen Group brands. The Volkswagen Group currently operates five IT-labs worldwide: two in Wolfsburg and in Berlin, Munich and San Francisco.
Barcelona, at the forefront of innovation
In addition, the agreement between the city Council and SEAT also aims to promote innovation through the use of testing grounds, digitalization, problem solving and exchange among the company’s R&D departments, the Council, centres of excellence and Barcelona’s business and academic sector.
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau pointed out that innovation in the auto industry necessarily starts with working together on the rational use of cars, especially in large cities, promoting sustainable mobility, with zero-emission vehicles, and improving safety, with the aim of reducing accident rates. Colau positively welcomed the arrival of the Metropolis:LAB Barcelona lab to Barcelona and also highlights the city’s positioning as an international benchmark in the field of electric cars. Barcelona currently leads the number of electric vehicle registrations in Spain. Of all the new registrations, 15% are in Barcelona, which is six times higher than the national average. Developing these vehicles is an opportunity to take a great leap in transforming the transportation system to such an extent as to reduce toxic emissions, noise and energy consumption. In fact, Barcelona has just renewed its agreement with the LIVE Platform for two more years, providing continuity to a collaboration agreement between the Administration and the private sector.
SEAT President Luca de Meo underlined the company’s commitment to Barcelona, saying, “we want to reaffirm our determination to connect with Barcelona, the city which projects itself to the world as an innovation hub and the ideal backdrop to boost new mobility concepts and ecosystems”. “This is great news. We have succeeded in bringing a lab of this kind to Barcelona, which will specialise in digital traffic management and vehicle monitoring systems. Barcelona is internationally recognised as an innovative city, a smart city stamping ground and investment destination, and the new lab is part of our contribution to growing the city and growing along with it”, added de Meo.
With this agreement, the company, which is committed to the Created in Barcelona concept to project the brand, products and services on an international scale, consolidates its long-standing commitment to the city, which has been reflected in recent years with numerous initiatives.
One of the latest is the implementation of the only research centre that studies Barcelona’s urban mobility, the CARNET project in collaboration with the UPC and Volkswagen Group Research. Other initiatives include the creation of the SEAT Accelerator by Conector startup accelerator specialising in the auto industry and mobility, the company’s appointment as member of the Mobility Council of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, or the LIVE platform, of which SEAT is founding partner, which is promoted by the Council for the implementation of electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. In this sense, the company is promoting sustainable mobility in the city with models fuelled by CNG (the brand already features three models that use this technology: 5-door Leon, Leon ST and Mii), and in 2019 will launch its first electric vehicle.