24 November 2017

Transport and mobility innovations at the convention to launch the new CRF site in Trento


The "Veicoli connessi e cooperativi per la mobilità del futuro" ("Connected and cooperative vehicles for future mobility") convention that took place today was the occasion to officially launch the new Centro Ricerche di FCA (FCA Research Centre) in Trento, set up recently at the Bruno Kessler Foundation.
In front of a large turnout of people from the institutional, industrial, university and infrastructure worlds, the convention was structured in two distinct parts: a series of addresses on many topics related to innovation in transport and mobility; and a round table that broadly discussed international corridors and urban contexts.
Giorgio Cornacchia - CEO and general manager of the CRF - opened and closed the convention. In addition to introducing the various speakers, he presented the various activities carried out by the CRF and highlighted the special features of the Trento site, which has been active since 2001.
The CRF operates within the FCA worldwide organisation, in synergy with the technical and methodological skills centres distributed over four operating regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Latin America and North America. Its mission has three main goals: first, to develop powertrains, vehicle systems, materials, methods and processes to improve the competitiveness of FCA products; then, to represent FCA in collaborative research at a European and national level, taking part in pre-competitive research projects and promoting the development of a network of contacts and partnerships at an international level; finally, to support FCA in exploiting its intangible capital.
The CRF headquarters is in Orbassano, in the province of Turin, with some sites distributed across the country, including that of Trento where - thanks to the support and cooperation of local institutions - engineers and experts work to develop skills related topics that are especially important for the automotive industry: solutions for lightening vehicles and telematic technology applications, in addition to developing a network of relationships and partnerships with local companies.
The institutional address from the Province and Municipality of Trento highlighted the importance of the role of the CRF's local office in developing supply chain plans and systems with a major impact on the area.
Later, after an address from the Bruno Kessler Foundation, host of the convention, Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli - professor at Barkley University - spoke of the problems to be tackled in cooperative and autonomous systems, and Antonio Fuganti (director of CRF Trento) illustrated the skills and future programs, with the strong involvement of various "actors" in the area, from across the industrial, research and infrastructure worlds. Special emphasis was also given to the trials on the Brenner motorway and future trials at the Polo della Meccatronica (Mechatronics Hub), which will host the first national "test-site" to simulate an urban environment.
Representatives of CNH Industrial, the Trento University, the A22 Brenner motorway, the Trento Town Council, the Bruno Kessler Foundation and the FCA brands Alfa Romeo/Maserati took part in the round table moderated by Enrico Pisino, president of Cluster Trasporti Italia 2020 (Cluster Transport Italy 2020).
This round table was mainly focussed on international corridors and urban contexts, discussed from various points of view: topics related to artificial intelligence and new communication technologies, the vision of the future and that of users, an overview of the road map of the various industries.
At the end of the workshops, before the opening ceremony of the new headquarters, Giorgio Cornacchia concluded by highlighting how the various discussions had raised points for further reflection, indicating the topics on which joint efforts should be focussed on passing from words to actions to encourage the rapid spread of cooperative mobility and its acceptance among citizens.


Turin, 24 November 2017


The DRF timeline

1978 - The joint-stock company Centro Ricerche Fiat is founded. The prototype of the electric car XI / 23 and the Total Energy Module (TOTEM), the first cogenerator for the autonomous production of energy with fed by biogas, can be traced back to this time.

1980 - Research into inertia pulse motor generators, the study of an innovative system for starting the engine, which allows it to be stopped and started automatically during short stops in traffic. The first results in the laser welding field: weld implemented for the ring gear synchroniser.

1981 - A prototype driver warning system is built. It uses voice announcements to report vehicle faults.

1982 - An innovative family of medium-sized engines is designed, with both petrol and diesel versions.

1983 - Fluid Physics Module, equipment ordered by the European Space Agency for experiments into the behaviour of fluids in zero gravity, used in NASA and ESA shuttle missions.

1984 - A stamping process for high-strength sheet steels is perfected.

1985 - ABF braking control system and a 1930 cc diesel engine supercharged pre-chamber, boosted to 115 HP, are implemented.

1986 - The Galileo Ferraris electromagnetic compatibility testing chamber is completed, one of the first in Europe. Simultaneously, a prototype XI/75 fitted with a supercharged direct-injection diesel engine and belt continuously variable transmission is put on the road.

1987 - The PAS antiskid system for braking control in limited grip conditions is perfected on the road. Computer vision is applied to production systems, automatic assembly robots are used on the lines in the Cassino plant. An on-board information system is developed, with CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) and touch screen for the Thema.

1988 - The Croma Turbo Diesel is the first car in the world with a direct-injection engine as standard. Development starts on the Unijet system with common rail. The "Solar Control" windscreen is developed: athermic glass to reduce the passenger compartment temperature. An anthropomorphic robot is developed for continuous laser welding on three-dimensional superego components, also used on the Shuttle.

1989 - A solar ventilation system is developed and installed on buses. The internal temperature of vehicles parked in the sun is reduced. A system of four steering wheels (4VVS) with electronic control is developed. A colour CRT interface for driver support functions and the remote management of on-board devices is mounted on the Lancia Thema.

1990 - The "Eligio Perucca" semi-anechoic chamber is built for noise and vibration measurement.

1991 - Radar and laser anti-collision system, a four-wheel steering system is applied to the Lancia Delta Rally.

1992 - Prototype Thema with active suspension, the application of a concept developed for Formula 1 cars; the "Vasco Ronchi" laboratory of optics and optronics is opened. A vehicle body is made entirely from composite material, with structural characteristics equivalent to those of steel bodies.

1993 - The Centro Motori Ecologici (Ecological Engine Centre) is opened. Diffractive lens headlights, the ALERT demonstration vehicle, Alfa 164 equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control, collision avoidance radar, infrastructure-vehicle communication system and a microwave sensor for parking and overtaking are implemented.

1995 - A pre-industrialised prototype Daily is built, with a 2.8 litre, 4-cylinder SOFIM methane engine with ID 2V multipoint system.

1997 - ​Marea Bipower: the first Fiat bi-fuel car, methane and petrol. A laser process is adopted for surface finishing: metal powder is fused to form high-performance build-up.

1998 - Ecobasic, a low-cost and low-consumption concept car. It weighs 750 kg, has Euro 4 emission, consumes 2.9 litres of diesel fuels per 100 km and is equipped with the stop&go system.

1999 - Fiat Brava with Ecodriver hybrid powertrain. Welding system with laser diodes.

2000 - Sites in Bari and Trento are opened, a laboratory for the study of Micro- and Nano-technologies is completed. The INFODAILY is implemented for Iveco, as is the Lancia NEA, a concept car with a "virtual seat belt". Uniair system: the first to electronically control valve movement to optimise combustion, consumption and emissions.

2001 - The European ADIGA project, an internal combustion engine with an electronic valve control system: it reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 15%. H2Elettra Fuel cell, the first Fiat hydrogen-powered car.​

2002 - ​The Catania site is opened. A HEAC high-efficiency air conditioning system and new Dual dry clutch with flexible architecture for manual and automated solutions.

2003 - 600 with 45kW hydrogen full power engine with equivalent performance to the petrol vehicle.

2004 - Chip-led lighting technology; hybrid metal-plastic nodes: capability of moulding plastic on sheet metal. Prototype Stop&Start system on the Fiat Punto​.

2005 - FPT created: Fiat Powertrain Technologies. A pre-industrialised version of the Multiair petrol engine is implemented. The AGILASER system is designed for moving the laser beam in remote welding.

2006 - Blue&Me is marketed, a telematic platform developed in partnership with Microsoft. The Panda Hydrogen H2 and Panda MultiEco​ are launched.

2007 - HYperPanda, a city car with a powertrain that uses a methane-hydrogen mixture. The PREVENT integrated project for the development of integrated preventive safety technologies and systems.

2008 - Phylla project: an electric car with integrated solar energy, developed in a technological laboratory promoted by the Piedmont Region.​

2010 - Materials Labs Group is founded, there have been more than 600 collaborative research projects co-financed by the European Commission since 1989.​

2011 - The first application worldwide of TWIP steel on the Panda, and the first European test site for real trials of emergency calls from the vehicle.

2013 - Evolution of MultiAir technology with very high-efficiency cycles; the Multijet Twinair engine wins "Best Green Engine of the Year". Composite body and components are developed for the Alfa Romeo 4C​.

2014 - The WCM Research and Innovation team is founded and European cooperation starts on Factory 4.0, Horizon 2020 and Factory of the Future starts: projects of excellence in the fields of ergonomics, industrial process digitalisation and joining methods.

2015 - The Polo di Eccellenza dell'Elettronica di Orbassano (Orbassano Electronics Excellence Hub) is founded and work is completed on smart materials applied to high-end cars: innovative composite materials, thermoplastics and alloys that promote sustainability (lightening and circular economy).

2016 - The Sistemi Cooperativi (Cooperative Systems) program is completed, the "Premio dei Premi" ("Prize of Prizes") is awarded by the President of the Republic of Italy.

2017 - Start of the L3 Pilot European cooperation, the most important on-road trials of self-driving vehicles.



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