The aim of Avangard is to design a microfactory for the production of electric cars and bikes applying Industry 4.0 solutions and minimizing the footprint of both the production and use phase of the vehicles. After the first third of this three years project, the first prototypes of electric cars have been produced and the bicycles will come soon. Taking advantage of the modularity of the vehicle design, the prototypes correspond to different configurations: two standard four seat vehicles and two vans have been manufactured, in the case of the four seats vehicles one of them corresponds to the short length one, while the other is track extended. In the case of the vans the difference among them is the installation of photovoltaic panels in the external surface of one of them, which allows 20 additional kilometres range thanks to the solar irradiation.
The microfactory will need tenth the extension and the investment of a standard factory for vehicles’ production. To reach this ambitious target several innovations are applied that cover from the possibility to make the configuration and the order of the vehicle from an application in your smartphone to the implementation of revolutionary laser cutting and 3D printing solutions. The microfactory has been sized for the production of 50 vehicles a day in two shifts, and is fed by renewable energy in order to be energy independent.
Avangard is linked to Steel S4 EV project, where the design of the vehicles has been optimised to be easily manufactured and at the same time to be best in class at occupant protection. Three of the first prototypes will be tested by Cidaut in the ambit of Steel S4 EV project to validate the frontal and lateral crash behaviour of the vehicles.
In the field of the CERO Project, Cidaut has performed real time on board tests for vulnerable road users’ protection and short range communication. In the case of vulnerable users’ protection the tests have consisted in detecting both pedestrians and cyclist in different traffic scenarios, like overtaking, crossing or appearing behind big vehicles front blind points. The solution obtained is based in low cost components and simplified software. In fact, the system consists of a monocular webcam with a single processor to evaluate the images registered by the camera. The big effort has been made in the optimisation of the system program and in the use of artificial intelligence to teach the system.
All the scenarios tested were successfully completed, the different vulnerable road users were detected in advance and attending to their relative position with the vehicle trajectory the driver was advised accordingly. An important output of these trials has been the time needed for the system to register the image, process it and decide if it is a vulnerable road user or not. This time is 0,11 seconds clearly lower than the average reaction time of a human, 1 second, or the reaction time of a driver in alert situation, 0,5 seconds, and with the additional advantage of no distractions or drowsiness.
In parallel, the dedicated short range communication system developed in the project has been tested in different scenarios, the most relevant ones have been: semaphore communication, work zone + traffic jam and personalised messages for different users. In the first case communication between vehicle and traffic light, when the vehicle is approaching the traffic light, it communicates to the traffic light its speed and position, according to the time to red or to green, the traffic light makes a recommendation to the vehicle about how to proceed, immediately, the message appears in the HMI developed for the project. In the second case, the vehicle is alerted 500m in advance about the cut of one of the lanes of the road due to road works, and in the case of traffic jam due to the work zone, the vehicle is informed by the rest of the vehicles about this situation, as in the previous case, the corresponding graphic messages appear in the HMI of the vehicle. The personalised messages is aimed to substitute the large and costly (about 40 thousand euro) variable message signals in the roads. In this case the infrastructure has several pieces of information available for the users, but the users will only receive the information useful for them. For the test two vehicles were running on the track, the first one was an electric vehicle, and the second one a dangerous goods vehicle. The first vehicle received information about how to reach the closest charging station, while the second one was informed about a mandatory deviation for dangerous goods transport. The short range communication demonstrated to have more than 800 meters range and at the same time to be the best ally of the large range communication to warranty a seamless connectivity for the future autonomous vehicle.
Last October, AVL organised a series of technical conferences in online format, which addressed the new challenges in the automotive industry and the technological solutions to meet them.
AVL Digital Tech Week 2020 sought to show the keys to give the answer to the mobility challenges of today and tomorrow. Four two-hour sessions were held, in which AVL presented the technological trends and a partner from the automotive industry offered its specific vision on the subject. All presentations were of a high technical content and ended with a round table of questions. It was a very interesting opportunity to understand the current and future challenges.
The third session was focused on “Hydrogen – Hydrogen Generation and its application in mobility” where CIDAUT participated with one of the presentations that took place. On this occasion the presentation was entitled “Hydrogen value chain and mobility applications: CIDAUT experience” and was focused on CIDAUT’s experience and capabilities along the hydrogen value chain and especially in mobility applications and developments required for the use of hydrogen.
The day also included the presentation of AVL technicians who spoke about “AVL Fuel Cell Technology – A pathway to zero emission transportation” and the National Hydrogen Centre participated in the final round table.
On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, “miciudadatodogas initiative”, together with the León City Council, organized the conference “Renewable Gas, Mobility and Sustainable Development”. This conference was followed in online format by more than 70 attendees related to natural and renewable gas.
On behalf of CIDAUT, researcher José Ignacio Domínguez took part in the 2nd Roundtable “Renewable Gases and the promotion of the development of a just transition strategy” where he commented on the opportunities in mobility with renewable hydrogen in Castilla y León. During the event, low-carbon economy projects and initiatives were announced that, in addition to contributing to the decarbonization process, also collaborate in the deployment of the Spanish just transition strategy.
This event also allow the attendees to learn about the new sustainable mobility strategy that the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda is promoting at national level, as well as the policies that are being developed in this matter by Junta de Castilla y León and the City Council of León.
miciudadatodogas is a public-private initiative, involving companies related to natural and renewable gas and sustainable cities committed to the circular economy and the fight against climate change.
The COVID-19 has forced to celebrate the II Foro Iberoamericano de la Energía on-line. In this edition, Cidaut has been invited to show its know-how and experience in the development of solutions for sustainable mobility. The presentation made by the Research and Development Center has been focused on the methodology followed in the last twelve years to complete the whole path from the idea to the manufacturing of a safe urban electric vehicle.
The first point of the presentation was to highlight the support of the European Commission through the different funding programs and the great contribution of the different and numerous partners involved in the different project presented. Although Cidaut has worked in different solutions for the vehicle structures, mainly CFRP, light alloys and AHSS, in this case the solution based on Advanced High Strength Steel was presented. This working line started on 2012 with the design of a safe urban vehicle (PLUS-MOBY Project) and its related infrastructure. The vehicle’s power train consisted in two motor one per axle with and enhanced dynamic behavior and improvement crashworthiness for lateral and frontal crashes. Both the vehicle and the infrastructure used the photovoltaic energy to reduce de carbon footprint with cells in the roof of the vehicle and in the infrastructure, also the batteries available in the infrastructure were compatible with the batteries in the car to allow battery swapping.
Along Steel S4 EV Project, the vehicle structure is optimize paying special attention to the cutting and welding processes of the structure and the assembly of the vehicle as a whole. The aim is to make a clean safe vehicle easy and cheap to be manufactured. The design of the micro-factory where the solution achieved in Steel S4 EV can be produced is been tackled in Avangard Project, where the main objective is the definition of a 4.000m2 plant where different configurations of the vehicle (van, pick-up, enlarged van, standard,…) can de produced with an investment 90% lower in comparison to a standard vehicle factory.
Finally, the product will be improved thanks to the integration of automated driving capabilities that will be implement in the coming project MULTI-MOBY.
SAFE STRIP Project is reaching its final stage. After the users’ trials, successfully completed during the first half of 2020 in Trento (Italy), Thessaloniki (Greece), Athens (Greece) and Valladolid (Spain), different events have been hold in the three countries to share the results of the project with relevant stakeholders from the administration and the industry. The structure of the meetings have been quite similar with a presentation from the local partner to introduce the project and to show the most relevant results followed by a discussion with the invited stakeholders to better understand the time to market for the solutions and applications developed along the project.
In chronological order, the first of the events took place in Athens on July 20th. it was hosted by the technical leader of the project, Certh. with representatives from the Greek Government and the European Commission. The meeting included a demonstration of some of the solutions developed along the project to show the assistants the important advantages in safety, traffic flow and infrastructure costs achieved thanks to the development of SAFE STRIP Project.
The second event was hold in Italy, organized by Centro Riserche Fiat and A22 Autostrada Brennero on July 22nd. In this meeting, the presence of infrastructure operators was especially relevant. It was highlighted that SAFE STRIP solutions could cover the need of a suitable communication channel to reach the drivers and riders, improving the current applications with a significant lower cost.
The third event was hold at Cidaut facilities in Boecillo on July 23rd. Due to COVID-19 travelling restrictions, it was a hybrid on-line and face-to-face meeting. The Leader of the Urban Mobility Center and the Coordinator of the Innovation Area and Economic Development were the representatives from the local administration, the Research and Development Responsible of AMAC Europe was the representative of the infrastructure operators and a development engineer from Road Steel Engineering was representing the infrastructure developers. The rest of the assistants was personnel from Cidaut who was involved in the project to explain the project results. The participants were invited to answer several questions in order to understand the acceptability of the solutions and applications with a successful response from the different stakeholders.
Despite all limitations derived from the lockdowns and restrictions imposed after the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe, ReFreeDrive Consortium has managed to deal with the situation and go ahead with the project activities in these last months. A six months extension has been agreed with the CE to compensate the unexpected delays, therefore the project will now end in March 2021.
After the comeback to the industrial activity was allowed, the manufacturing and testing of the prototypes was resumed. At this point, both permanent magnets assisted and pure synchronous reluctance motors for 75kW and 200kW applications have been delivered and tested at IFPEN facilities. Induction motors are expected to be fully assembled in the following weeks. Powertrain integration activities are now beginning at CIDAUT, and preliminary in-vehicle integration tasks (such as installing cooling circuits and the battery pack) have already started at PRIVÉ.
Several dissemination activities have been organized in the last months to maintain audience engagement. Especially relevant have been the two ReFreeDrive webinars aiming to share the project scope, objectives and achievements with technical and non-technical audiences. Up to now, the topics covered in the webinars have been “Rare earth-free motor designs for e-mobility” and “Control strategies and electric drive design of induction and synchronous reluctance motors for e-mobility”. Moreover, ReFreeDrive participated with all other GV04 H2020 EU-projects (DRIVEMODE, MODULED) in a webinar titled “Next generation electric drivetrains for fully electric vehicles, focusing on high efficiency and low cost”, in the context of the European Mobility Week, which took place from 16th to 22th September 2020.
Last, but not least, on 1st October the 36-months General Assembly meeting was celebrated as an online meeting. There, the project progress was evaluated and all the ongoing activities monitored, and the activities for the last months of the project were scheduled to ensure that all tasks end successfully in time.
The World Hydrogen Congress took place online from 22-24 September and CIDAUT could attend it thanks to the collaboration of AeH2. The World Hydrogen Congress is the annual meeting place for senior decision-makers right across the hydrogen production and distribution value chain. An outstanding executive line up augmented by strong association support from both the blue and green hydrogen markets is leading to what promises to be a unique event for all hydrogen executives.
The congress lasted for three days with presentations and debates from the main stakeholders in the hydrogen sector through an innovative platform of thought-leaders, exchanges and debates between key hydrogen stakeholders, technology & science providers and world-leading industry views.
Continuing with hydrogen-related events, CIDAUT, as a member of GASNAM (an association that promotes the use of natural gas, hydrogen and renewable gas in mobility, both land and sea, in the Iberian Peninsula), attended the annual meeting on gas mobility that this association organizes.
This year, under a 100% virtual format, the Green Gas Mobility Online Event has had more than 50 conferences, B2B meetings, and a large virtual exhibition. For three days, from October 22 to 24, the benefits that the use of carbon neutral gases such as biomethane, synthetic gas or hydrogen brings to mobility have been analyzed.
European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECH2A) was launched earlier this summer, following the European Commission’s presentation of an EU Hydrogen Strategy, and has rapidly grown to over 400 members (companies, research organizations and public authorities). CIDAUT is one of the members that support the alliance within the Research Centers and intends to be present at the working groups that will be organized soon.
ECH2A as a partnership across countries and industries will pave the way for a strong European position in hydrogen technologies and applications. With the alliance, the EU wants to build its global leadership in this domain, to support the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The alliance will establish an investment agenda and support the scaling up of the hydrogen value chain across Europe. The alliance will play a crucial role in facilitating and implementing the actions of the new European hydrogen strategy and in particular its investment agenda. An industry blueprint estimates investments of €430 billion until 2030. It will also be important in the context of the new energy system integration strategy.
But this has not been the only event around hydrogen in which CIDAUT has been present. As a great milestone, last October 6th, the Spanish Government approved the “Hydrogen Roadmap: a commitment to renewable hydrogen“. A total of 78 entities, organizations, associations and individuals have sent contributions to the public consultation of the Hydrogen Roadmap among which is CIDAUT.
With this roadmap, the Government at the proposal of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge is promoting the deployment of this sustainable energy vector, which will be key to Spain achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. The development of renewable hydrogen will promote the creation of innovative industrial value chains in the country, technological knowledge and the generation of sustainable employment, contributing to the reactivation towards a high added value green economy.
Some key points to note:
-60 measures & objectives for the implementation of renewable hydrogen by 2030, aimed at the production of renewable hydrogen and the following areas: industry, mobility and the electricity sector or energy storage.
-An intermediate milestone for 2024 is considered: 300-600 MW of installed electrolyzer power.
A great step to advance towards a hydrogen economy in our country, in which CIDAUT will continue working to promote the technological and industrial development of hydrogen.
Sixteen different users have tested the applications developed at SAFE STRIP Project in Cidaut’s facilities
SAFE Strip Project, funded by the European Commission, is reaching its final stage with the users’ trials. The tests are running at Italy, Greece and Spain, under Cidaut’s responsibility. The Spanish pilots have been performed at Cidaut’s facilities, a controlled test track at Mojados. Six riders and ten drivers have tested nine different scenarios, where the applications developed along SAFE STRIP Project to support the users for a safer, more fluent and more ecologic way of driving have been evaluated.
The solution developed can be used in any kind of vehicle, independently from its automation level, because the information can directly reach the vehicle for the higher automation levels or be presented to the users through a friendly HMI in their portable devices, iOS or Android, for the lower levels. Most of the applications tested at Cidaut are related to safety: vulnerable road user protection, wrong way driving, motorway exit, work zone detection and variable message signal for low visibility, liquid on the road or heavy traffic. Others are oriented to improve the users comfort, the traffic flow and to reduce the environmental impact, like the virtual toll or the parking and charging application.
The system is based on the use of low cost components and sensors that thanks to different communication technologies provide intelligence to the transport system, obtaining as a result the cooperation between the different users of the road and the infrastructure. All the information provided by the different stakeholders is sent to a server in the cloud where all the information is managed and suitable messages are sent to the users through a friendly HMI with simple pictograms to improve safety, traffic flow and efficiency.
The applications tested allow the driver to be aware of critical situations like a hidden pedestrian crossing the road, a vehicle driving in the wrong direction, a vehicle stopped in a motorway exit, sliding pavement, lane closed due to road works, heavy traffic in front or low visibility. There are also applications dedicated to the comfort of the users, because the system allows the user to pay the toll on the air, without stopping or going through complex gates. With the solution developed is also possible to receive information about available parking slots and to make the payment totally automatically, without walking to the park meter nor having to start and stop the application, because it works automatically when the vehicle is parked.
The tests have allowed to evaluate in real conditions the performance of all the applications and also to measure the acceptance of the future users.