An important part of the CRF’s research is carried out at international level. Since 1980 the CRF has been among the promoters of the Joint Research Committee of European Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, now EUCAR, which brings together the biggest car makers to share common research programmes. Since 1989 the CRF has taken part in research programmes promoted by the European Union, working with over a thousand industrial and academic partners on long-running precompetitive research activities. This does not just comprise internationally renowned research centres and the biggest European car manufacturers, but also universities and small and medium-sized businesses.
The 500+ precompetitive research projects undertaken have addressed the various aspects that can contribute to improving vehicles. Vehicles that are safer, more environmentally friendly (both during manufacturing and once in use) and intelligent, able to converse with other vehicles and infrastructures. There has been a clear movement away from the classic and tangible issues of the first projects in the 1990’s, generally connected with the mechanics of vehicles, towards issues such as safety, mobility and environmental protection. European CRF projects, always closely connected to the areas of interest of the Fiat Group sectors, enable us to anticipate their requirements, constitute a form of training of resources and, last but not least, allow us to help define and produce European research roadmaps. Indeed, a relationship based on the continuous exchange of information and incentives is developed between those that carry out research, EU institutions and society: a relationship that results in a virtuous circle that focuses the attention on the most pressing and topical issues.
What does participating in a European project actually mean to a company?
Above all else it means exploring its ability to cooperate with partners in other countries with close attention on the timeframes and objectives mapped out over a 3-5 year period; it means showing an ability to manage budgets of millions of euro, but above all the assertiveness to coordinate the work of dozens of research teams.
At the same, over the years the CRF has become a major player as regards the consultation provided by European institutions, activities which give a voice to the industry and which are used to highlight the need for research in the private sector of the automobile industry.
Active participation in the European Technological Platforms, the international forums that give voice to the most important research institutions, is an example of this.
But that is not all. The CRF is ever attentive to developments relating to policies and regulations in the automobile industry. The aim is to view Brussels not only in terms of the opportunities it offers to work alongside the best centres of excellence, but also as regards the context of these opportunities, made up of policies and regulation strategies.