Nine months after the start of the XPLORA project, Seat and Champion Motors, the carmaker’s importer in Israel, have successfully concluded the first stage of the initiative.
The goal of the XPLORA project is to foster relations with start-ups and stakeholders related to mobility in Israel and identify innovative projects that can lead to emerging future solutions and business models for SEAT.
“This first stage has been exhausting and exciting; we have met with over 100 companies, analysed 40 of them in depth, and ultimately we are going to implement proofs of concept in eight. We are studying how we can adapt their technology to SEAT’s cars and systems so we can begin to implement real innovation,” said Seat vice-president for R&D, Dr Matthias Rabe. “The decision to take the leap in Tel Aviv with a new company is driven by strategic motives – we want to be known as a tech company that provides mobility rather than just a carmaker,” he concluded.
Second stage of XPLORA
The action plan is now entering its second stage, where new ‘Xplorers’ have been defined. Among these are two specialists – one in Digital Key and Cybersecurity in the area of electric and electronic development, and the other from the business development team of the newly created XMOBA, who will focus their attention on identifying new mobility solutions and enhanced user experiences in areas such as driver assistants, mobility as a service, solutions for electric vehicles, cybersecurity or Industry 4.0.
“Making the move to Tel Aviv has taught us two valuable lessons. The first is related to being present in the country and the importance of getting a full grasp of the start-up ecosystem. The second has to do with detecting opportunities,” says XMOBA executive director Arantxa Alonso. According to Alonso, “Improved hardware applications can help to enhance the driving experience, while new software solutions can be used to develop better mobility.”
From scouting to in-car proofs of concept
Key projects now entering in the proof of concept stage as potential mobility innovations include a solution that could replace the use of transport tickets with a digital passenger recognition system. This solution would enable personalised fare management as well as provide infrastructure managers with relevant information on mobility patterns.
There is also a prominent project centered around improving the driving experience with a focus on the car windows. Seat is analysing a laser projection system that would enable the windscreen to be used as a display.
Furthermore, the carmaker is assessing a system linked to information and communication inside the car. Through this innovative technology, individual sound reaches the ears of the driver or passengers directly. Whether to integrate this system in the near future is currently under careful consideration.
The feasibility of these projects is subject to the analysis of proof of concept and will be evaluated in the coming months.