An estimated 15 to 30 per cent of the traffic in a large European city such as Barcelona consists of people who are driving around… looking for parking. A collaboration between VW’s SEAT affiliate and a local university at this Catalonian city has been hard at work trying to devise solutions to this and other problems to help improve urban mobility in future.

As part of that, two engineering students got the opportunity recently to finishing the biggest project they have ever worked on – designing a system to help drivers reduce the time it takes to locate a parking spot.

Both of these students at the School of Engineering of Terrassa at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya have successfully participated in the Creative Lab project, an initiative promoted by the university, the Volkswagen Group and SEAT to develop projects that help improve urban mobility. It has been an excellent opportunity for them to gain exposure in the business world: “It’s been great working side by side with the SEAT engineers and getting their help with designing our proposals”, said one of the pair, Eduard, who recently graduated.

Of the 83 students who applied to participate in the project, the university selected the 30 most deserving to form part of the six interdisciplinary groups that collaborated on this initiative. That is how Eduard and a fellow student, Miguel, were able to develop their project, an idea that they say “will help drivers reduce driving time and fuel expenses and contribute toward preserving the environment since they will be spending much less time driving around looking for an available parking space”. With innovative systems like this, these students are focused on making urban traffic more fluid.

“For us it’s a good way to stay in tune with the world of higher education and also benefit from the creativity of young engineers”, says Santi Castellá, the person responsible for electro-mobility projects at SEAT and an ongoing supporter of this creative workshop. “The experience has been very positive and the results have exceeded our initial expectations,” commented Castellá.

Likewise, for Núria Garrido, assistant director of the School of Engineering of Terrassa at the UPC, who coordinated the project, this is a unique opportunity for students to get a taste of what it’s like to work in the business sector and she pointed out how important it is for young people to get involved in designing their concept of city cars: “SEAT gave the students full creative freedom and the results have been very interesting proposals that I’m sure we’ll see in cars of the future”, added Núria. (Source: The Newsmarket.)