Giving rise to innovation

CARA draws collective intelligence to come up with innovative solutions to the new challenges posed by transport and mobility, through think tanks and focus groups on five research programmes

Think Tank

What is Think Tank ?

It is an event, a space for knowledge sharing, ideation and debate to imagine the transportation systems of tomorrow. It brings together all the players (researchers, engineers, users, operators and managers, carriers, members of local authorities) in our ecosystem with the aim of generating innovative ideas on our themes.

The Think Tank are focucing five research programmes.

Think Tank example :

The HICE (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine) Think Tank

This Think Tank gathered more than 100 participants divided between a digital solution and an indoor solution organized thanks to the support of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.

Through presentations by VOLVO, IFPEN, the CETHIL Laboratory and CRMT, CARA wanted to highlight the specificities of HICE (Hydrogen Ignited Combustion Engine) technology. This technology is similar to a hydrogen gas engine.

The objective of this Think Tank was to present the potential of the HICE technology, its impacts on industrial ecosystems and to stimulate debate within the ecosystem on its relevance and acceptability.

Think Tank, vehicle architecture: what impact will new regulations have?

On Tuesday 30 May 2023, CARA brought together around fifty stakeholders to enable them to discover or examine in greater depth the future constraints that need to be taken into account in the development of vehicles and associated services for the mobility of tomorrow, and thus better identify the challenges that still need to be met.
This Think Tank was held as part of the “Vehicle Architecture” and “Mobilities, Practices and Governance” research programmes, and was chaired by Stephen MARVIN, R&D Director of the PFA.

What is a CARA research programmes ?

CARA research programs are the cluster’s research management tools. They are the result of a collaborative effort by the members of the CARA network (industrialists, research and training players).

The role of the CARA network’s research programs is to network the skills and expertise of the CARA network through dedicated events, to generate ideas, to help innovation projects emerge, to structure them and to support them through to project submission.

The five CARA research programmes

Motorisation and drivetrain

The program covers the entire traction chain:

Energy carriers and their storage mode, energy converters, energy recovery systems, control and command hardware and software for subsystems, pollutant emissions and noise emissions. Its main objective is to help deploy solutions that are both economically affordable and socially acceptable, with low CO2 and nuisance emissions.

Programme motorisation & drivetrain director : Stéphane RAUX – IFPEN

  • Lubrication and losses
  • Combustion
  • Cooling
  • Engine architecture
  • Electrical Machines
  • Power electronics
  • Materials for electrification
  • Architecture and integration
  • Thermo management and optimal energy management
  • Control / sensors and actuators
  • New generation batteries
  • Fuel cells
  • Tank
  • Thermal and kinetic energy recovery
  • Biofuel and synthetic fuel (liquid and gaseous)
  • Technical, economic and environmental evaluation of energy sources
  • Engine/fuel suitability and cleanliness in use
  • Noise treatment
  • Emissions knowledge
  • Pollution control systems
  • Characterization in real use

Safety and security

The program focuses on the prevention and management of risks and accidents in the transport of people and goods. It aims, based on the development of innovative solutions, in terms of road safety to improve the protection of users and staff towards a vision of accident and zero risk, particularly through the contribution of empowerment. And in terms of safety, to improve protection against attacks on people and computer systems and data.

Programme sécurity & safety director : Philippe Vezin – Université Gustave Eiffel

The program is based on the following areas of expertise:

Primary safety:

  • Analysis of accident factors
  • Understanding of accident mechanisms
  • Developing and evaluating driver assistance systems, including automated systems
  • Improving the traffic integration of autonomous vehicles
    Developing and evaluating systems for detecting/perceiving other users/obstacles
  • Improve infrastructure safety and develop safe intermodality


Secondary safety:

  • Improve occupant safety in the event of violent deceleration (impact, braking, turning)
  • Ensure compatibility with vulnerable users
  • Assist and secure the mobility of people with sensory difficulties and PRM
    Detection systems for other users/obstacles

Tertiary safety:

  • Develop warning, access and priority systems for emergency services
  • Improve infrastructure safety and develop safe intermodality

Personal safety:

  • Protecting users from aggression
  • Protect from theft


Security of goods: 

  • Facilitate and secure loading/unloading operations
  • Protect against theft and vandalism
  • Securing the load during transport (stowage, etc.)
  • Securing the transport of hazardous materials in urban areas (radiosources, small volumes, medical waste


Vehicle security: 

  • Protect from damage
  • Develop peripheral vision/perception of the vehicle


System security: 

  • Improving and guaranteeing the safety of high autonomy vehicles (on vehicles and infrastructures)
  • Improve the insertion of autonomous vehicles in traffic
  • Improve and guarantee the security of telematic data (radio sources, small volumes, etc.)
  • Improve and guarantee the security of personal data
    Improving and guaranteeing software security (operation and cyber attacks)
  • Improving and guaranteeing the security of systems, especially communication and detection systems (operation and cyberattack)

Vehicle architecture

The program focuses on the development and integration of innovative solutions and technologies to improve the attractiveness, performance and competitiveness of the vehicle.

Programme vehicle architecture director : Arnaud Feutrie – IVECO

The program is structured around the following areas of expertise.

  • Architecture (pre-disposition/integration of components & modules)
  • Numerical synthesis (architecture, simulations…)
  • Vehicle efficiency (aerodynamics, ground friction, mass)
  • Vehicle dynamics & ground connection
  • Electronic architecture (network system)
  • EMC
  • On-board energy (integration, autonomy, charging infrastructure interface)
  • Design / Style / Ergonomics
  • Perceived quality (visual, haptic, acoustic)
  • Air quality (olfactory, filtration…)
  • Acoustics (Noise/Harshness/Vibration)
  • On-board thermics (Cabin / Organs)
  • HMI & entertainment
  • Materials (composites/hybrids, high performance steel, aluminum…)
  • Multi-material assembly
  • Prototyping & additive manufacturing
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Eco-design & recycling
  • Maintainability
  • Retrofit & second life of vehicles

Intelligent transport systems

The program focuses on the development of transport system concepts, technological building blocks and their interactions, as well as on the evaluation of their performance and optimization.

It also aims to integrate new technologies (artificial intelligence, blockchain, connectivity, 5G, new energies, etc.) through its partnerships with other clusters and organizations specialized in these technologies. (e.g.: Tenerrdis, Viameca, Minalogic, System X, Vedecom, etc.).

Programme intelligent transport systems directors : Philippe Gache – Renault Trucks – Volvo Group & Collin-Yann Jacquin – Michelin

For more than 10 years, the program has been structured around the sub-themes described below.

  • Design the architecture of the transportation system according to its mode (road/rail/ship/air/underground)
  • Ensure and evaluate its performance in connected and intelligent transport systems, including the autonomous vehicle
  • Ensure the modal articulation of the system
  • Adapting the chameleon vehicle
  • Evaluate mixed uses
  • Deploy the connected vehicle, the autonomous vehicle, and the associated infrastructure and operating strategies
  • Accompany the arrival of intelligent infrastructure
  • Propose concepts for a better use of public space related to transportation
  • Sizing and geo-positioning platforms (physical and land, transfer, handling, storage)
  • Use new technologies to optimize the interface with intelligent platforms, prepare for the arrival of autonomous vehicles to optimize transport systems
  • Define and develop local services according to new societal uses (e-commerce, automation, digitalization, etc.)
  • Characterize, identify and locate entities (vehicles, people, goods, operating conditions)
  • Manage systems (real time, indicators, predictions)
  • Prepare and optimize vehicle routes, mobility chain, logistics
  • Supervise and assist in decision-making (risks, events)
  • Anticipate the needs related to the arrival of autonomous vehicles

Mobility practices and governance

The world of transport and mobility has been undergoing far-reaching changes over the past few years, as shown by the major issues in the spotlight: MAAS, autonomous vehicles, urban logistics, active mobilities, new mobilities, etc. The Mobility, Practices and Governance programme sets out to explore these issues in the light of input from the Human and Social Sciences. It aims to report on the environmental, health-related, economic and social issues they embrace, along with the behaviours and uses with which they interact in urban mobilities and the management and governance questions they raise for regional stakeholders.

Programme mobility, practices and governance directors : Laurent Jardinier – CEREMA & Jean-Pierre Nicolas – ENTPE

Focus group

CARA organizes working groups on various themes. The aim is to bring together actors and to exchange best practices, experiences and knowledge in order to identify a line of thought for the participants. They are organized in the form of creativity workshops to generate project ideas.

Idéation lors d'un groupe de travail

Focus group example

Focus group light and safety

Resulting from the Think Tank “use of light to secure maneuvering areas in logistics”, this working group proposed three innovation and experimentation projects to Kéolis Lyon / Sytral :

  • User warning system using light on the forecourt of the Part Dieu Vivier Merle station
  • Protection system for vulnerable users upstream of the tramways by light protection
  • Warning light system for bus users in the driver’s field of vision