The Minister of Business and Knowledge visited Idiada facilities in Santa Oliva

The Minister of Business and Knowledge, Ramon Tremosa, visited Idiada yesterday. After touring its facilities, the Minister has held a working meeting with the top officials of this centre, which is a benchmark throughout Europe in terms of testing in the automotive sector.

With the aim of consolidating this leadership, Tremosa recalled that the Catalan Government has recently approved the allocation, through the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, of €15.3 million to improve its facilities. "They are already the best tracks on the continent, but with this investment we will consolidate their leadership and ensure that the best brands in the world continue to come to do their tests", said the Minister.

However, in addition, during the visit, the Minister of Business and Knowledge has seen a European Fund project promoted by Idiada that "could further strengthen the centre" and increase its economic impact both in Baix Penedès —it employs about 2,500 people— and in the country.

In this sense, Tremosa has congratulated the fact that "this support of the Government", which could be increased with the approval of the project with European Funds, "will generate high value-added employment, especially Vocational Training” in a region “with very high rates of youth unemployment and school failure”.

Connected and autonomous mobility

The €15.3 million that the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, through Avançsa, allocates to Idiada will be used specifically for the construction of test tracks and facilities for connected and autonomous vehicles. The design of these new tracks is integrated into the existing ones, complementing and improving the current offer, and enabling its use independently of the rest.

The global automotive industry currently faces two major challenges: electrification, as a measure to reduce emissions into the environment, and autonomous vehicle driving, with the aim of significantly reducing the number of accidents and their consequences.

In this sense, Idiada has been working on the preparation of knowledge and making some investments in the field of electric vehicle and test equipment for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Economic impact of the new test track

The project of construction and implementation of the new test track for connected and autonomous vehicles is a strategic investment for the future of the automotive sector that will have a significant impact on the country's economy, as well as in Baix Penedès, a region that has suffered significantly from the impacts of 2008 financial crisis.

The construction of the circuit will generate up to 243 annual jobs between direct, indirect and induced, and will provide an additional GDP of €12.3 million. It is estimated that half of the economic impact and job creation will fall in the region of Baix Penedès. Once operational, in 2024, the new track will provide a growing GDP of €2.5 to €4 million per year and will create 50 to 80 jobs.

The Idiada complex, opened in 1994, is an independent test field, open to different manufacturers of vehicles, components and technologies, with an area of 370 hectares. It has up to 12 circuits that enable to simulate the behaviour of the vehicles in different conditions.