Blockchain applied to the manufacturing of light urban electric vehicles

Cidaut is involved in Avangard project whose main objective is to develop advanced manufacturing solutions tightly aligned with business needs and oriented to the assembly of electric urban vehicles: 4 passengers’ cars, vans and bicycles. To achieve this ambitious target some innovative solutions are been applied both in the physical and digital ambit. From the physical point of view robotized integration of laser cutting-shaping –welding for 3D components, supersonic deposition of metallic powders for high speed 3D printing and large volume and high-speed 3D polymeric printing are the most relevant solutions.

But today’s article aims to focus the attention on the digital solutions. Avangard pretends to digitalize the whole manufacturing and delivery process. From an electronic device, the client will be able to configure the vehicle, make the purchase order and follow the evolution of the vehicle manufacturing, assembly and delivery. At the same time, the manufacturing system is able to receive the order and decide the most suitable microfactory of the system to manufacture this vehicle attending to location, work load, availability of goods and environmental impact.

To warranty the security, privacy and authenticity of the whole process it is needed, among others, the application of blockchain solutions, that are being developed ad-hoc for Avangard project. The infrastructure of the complete system is based on IoT (Internet of Things) solutions. Despite the large advances in the last decades, centralized cloud services are vulnerable to security attacks.

The solution precludes the use of trustzone-based architecture to support cryptographic operations and tamper-proof memory for the secure storage of sensitive data. Thus RFID/NFC can provide a unique identity to the connected devices to warranty trustiness and tracking through the blockchain. Immutability technologies are used to generate real-time access control, restricting connection only to authorized devices to warranty the privacy of the system.


The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project AVANGARD (GA #869986).

ReFreeDrive project activities update

Since the last update, ReFreeDrive project has attended several international events for disseminating the progress and the main outcomes of the project so far. Recently, on the 1st December, ReFreeDrive participated in H2020RTR Conference, the 4th European-wide conference dedicated to the presentation of results from road transport research in H2020 funded projects. Together with the other two EU projects from the GV-04 cluster (ModulED and DRIVEMODE), ReFreeDrive provided an insightful view of how the European R&D is allowing taking the lead in the electric powertrain field, benefiting the environment, the economy and the society overall.

Besides, we are glad to announce the celebration of the third webinar of the ReFreeDrive’s webinar series the next 16th December, 11:00AM CET. This time, three members of the Consortium will explain some interesting manufacturing facts for advanced induction motors: hairpin stator winding (Mario Vetuschi, Tecnomatic), die-cast copper rotor with zero porosity (David Schmitz, Breuckmann e-mobility) and fabricated copper rotor production process (Denise Willems, Aurubis). You can join us on the following registration link.




Cidaut Foundation and Telefonica subsidiary ElevenPaths sign an agreement to boost efforts around industrial cybersecurity.

Cidaut Foundation and Telefonica subsidiary ElevenPaths sign an agreement to boost efforts around industrial cybersecurity.

In a statement, Cidaut´s ITC-industry 4.0 unit and Telefonica Tech’s cybersecurity unit presented a new project, dubbed ARISTEO, on which they are working together. This collaboration is intended to catch cyber criminals operating in industrial environments aiming to generate intelligence about potential threats for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in Spain.

ARISTEO is a real industrial framework which allows the development of connected meta-honeynets; networks consisting of honeypots which run industrial control systems (ICSs) testbeds, thus allowing the collection of much more information on the attacks so attackers “fall into the trap” of thinking they are attacking a real company. These honeypots, classified as high-interaction honeypots, are based on real applications running in real systems. ARISTEO then entertains the attackers to obtain information about them, which is then used to alert customers, analyse security flaws and anticipate potential attacks.

“Examples of open innovation like this are the best way to develop cybersecurity projects, products and services locally, but whose scope is oriented to a global market and are possible because both companies carry innovation in our DNA”, said Jose Cascallana, director at the industrial cybersecurity centre C4IN, Telefonica. Cidaut foundation has provided the infrastructure to develop the pilot. The Industry 4.0 manager, Alvaro Garcia, stated that “the final product will be aimed at the proactive detection of threats and the generation of intelligence, differential elements in the world of cybersecurity, to help SMEs”.

In addition, the agreement between the two groups also establishes a collaboration framework for the development of more research and use cases in industrial cybersecurity, as well as to continue deepening in project ARISTEO, with the integration of the Cidaut demonstrator in the Telefonica demonstrators, of in such a way that both parties can develop, test and evaluate their own and third party tools. This entails holding joint demonstrations carried out in specialised forums and events, as well as allowing the exchange of information from systems exposed to attacks for the application of machine learning and analysis, based on the data obtained.

The companies consider the exchange of knowledge on the real state of industrial cybersecurity, with the SMEs vision of Cidaut, as a center of knowledge (R&D) with a multidisciplinary team that apply concurrent engineering techniques, including industrial processes, and being capable of arriving at the full industrialisation of the best solution, and of Telefonica, as a company that has a proposal for value oriented also to large companies and multinationals. This information will be shared with third parties since the objective is to create a value proposition oriented to the reality of the Spanish industry, satisfying its demand for cybersecurity solutions. Also, this global framework of collaboration between Cidaut and Telefonica is oriented towards future collaboration in both national and European projects.

Both institutions consider the agreement as one more step to achieve the recognition of Castilla y León as a specialized region in the field of cybersecurity.


First safe urban electric vehicles prototypes ready to be tested in Avangard Project

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.

Successful real time testing for artificial vision and dedicated short range communication

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.

CIDAUT talks about hydrogen in the AVL DIGITAL TECH WEEK 2020

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.


CIDAUT emphasises on the opportunities for mobility with renewable hydrogen in Castilla y León

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.

CIDAUT has participated in the “II Foro Iberoamericano de Energía” hold on-line

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.

Cidaut celebrates one of the three parallel final events in SAFE STRIP Project

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.

ReFreeDrive project: 36-months progress update

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.