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The emergence of autonomous and electric mobility technology is set to revolutionize personal and public travel. Driven by a global movement to reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles and limit society’s dependence on fossil fuels, autonomous e-mobility also offers the potential to improve driver, passenger and pedestrian safety on our roads.

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While the automotive sector is investing significant resources to bring innovative technological solutions to the market, the fact that traffic and approval regulations are not yet adapted for application with fully autonomous vehicles creates major challenges. The vehicle testing, inspection and certification sector, in particular, must address specific regulatory and technological challenges to ensure that such vehicles share the same high safety and environmental protection standards as other, more traditional vehicles before society can benefit from new-generation mobility.

Within Europe, Spain has been at the forefront of the movement to create practical applications for autonomous and electric mobility in Europe through its groundbreaking ”CITIES (Intelligent Concept for Integrated, Ecological and Safe Transport) Timanfaya” project, which was launched at the end of 2018 and funded by the Canary Islands Development Fund (FDCAN).

Timanfaya National Park is a spectacular volcanic landscape, preserved by Lanzarote’s dry climate. The narrow Ruta de los Volcanes road snakes for 14 kilometers through challenging terrain, carrying busloads of tourists every day. The rugged landscape belies the sensitivity of this unique ecosystem, a treasure which the Cabildo Art, Culture and Tourism Centers (CACT) are committed to protecting. The CITIES Timanfaya project demonstrator vehicle will, hopefully, be the first step toward implementing a new fleet of state-of-the-art, electric, autonomous and multimedia minibuses that will replace the existing diesel coaches. The new system is designed to deliver multiple benefits – from an enhanced visitor experience to improving road safety, minimizing disturbance to local flora and fauna and improving air quality.

SGS is a proud partner of the CITIES Timanfaya project through its collaboration with GMR Homologaciones SL. SGS-GMR Approvals is supporting the project’s aim of launching the first technological demonstrator vehicle in Spring 2020. Based on a commercially available electric vehicle, but adapted to include new sensors and guidance technology developed in Spain, the vehicle will carry 10 passengers at once and operate on the same route and at the same time as other road vehicles.

The co-existence of the CITIES Timanfaya autonomous vehicle with other, normal road users is what makes this project unique. It will provide regulatory authorities with a firsthand experience of real autonomous mobility, creating a testing field for this kind of mobility and enabling them to gain new insights.

We are supporting the project in three ways:

  • By providing regulatory analysis and advice on the development of specific legalization procedures for autonomous vehicles
  • Through advising on and participating in in the testing of autonomous mobility
  • Preparing technical documentation and handling approval management for the vehicle so it can be certified for road use in Spain

We are especially proud to be part of this project, as it is not only defining new standards in environmentally friendly state-of-the-art tourism mobility, but also revolutionizing European vehicle testing and certification processes and providing meaningful contributions toward the development of a sustainable, intelligent, and safe autonomous transport system for the future.

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