Hyperlieux Mobiles: a new concept in connected mobility for urban and regional development

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The Hyperlieux Mobiles project defines a new concept in the area of mobility, in the framework of connectivity and the development of electrical, autonomous and connected vehicles.

The aim of Hyperlieux Mobiles is to identify and study the various current and future forms of mobility beyond the mere transport of goods and people, to better understand the changes that are currently occurring in habits and in the opportunities provided by technology. In this context, the characteristics of new hybrid vehicles Hyperlieux Mobiles are defined as an advance in mobility ecosystems, prototypes of mobile, multifunctional urban microspaces that can bring activities or a service closer to the final user. This type of mobility services will free the user from the need to travel and one or several services can be provided in areas such as health, sport, leisure or work, to give some examples. This will promote the use of existing infrastructures and reduce the need to produce new ones, as a response to the challenges of sustainable development. 

The international team, promoted by the Institut pour la ville en mouvement (City on the Move Institute), is investigating varied regions on different continents. It registers no less than 600 mobile activities, including bicycles fitted with solar panels that distribute electricity to underequipped areas in Africa for cell phone charging, and provide WiFi access to connect to the world. Another example is the case of a mobile abattoir in Sweden, as close as possible to the place where livestock are bred, which respects both the animals and the employees. Other examples are various types of mobile cinema, library buses or mobile doctor’s practices.

One of these pilot projects directed by Carles Llop, architect and researcher in the Urbanism Research Group (GRU) of the DUOT at the UPC, coordinated with the NGO Dentists on Wheels (DSR) and with the support of the UPC Centre for Development Cooperation (CCD),is being carried out in Senegal. Through lorries adapted for mobile activities, the NGO provides dental services by establishing routes around various communities that do not have this basic health service. The success of this project is not only to bring the service to the users, but also the appearance of positive externalities for the communities, for example, avoiding travel to the metropolis to search for services, the creation of “squares” in which the population is provided with shared services with numerous activities available, and greater cohesion in these communities. 

Currently, ETSETB is developing a system to provide connectivity and digitalisation of the aforementioned service data; a pilot test that will serve as the basis for future provision of activities and services.

Many of these devices appear to be precursors of a potential shift in our mobile practices, associated with our “hyperconnectivity” and the heralded arrival of the autonomous vehicle. When we are free of the obligation to drive, the autonomous, connected vehicle will lead us to dramatically rethink our relationship with travel time, as time will not be lost, and our relationship with space in these new types of vehicles, whose interior space should be reconsidered.

Hyperlieux Mobiles has been promoted and organised by the City on the Move Institute, which forms part of the French Institute for Energy Transition, Vedecom. Other participants in the project apart from the UPC are Transdev, PSA Groupe, Michelin and La Poste, as well as the Mackenzie Presbyterian University of Sao Paulo, the National University of Colombia in Bogota and the Eindhoven University of Technology, among others.

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