Institutional back to the autonomous driving project in the Timanfaya National Park.

After a recent meeting with the Director of Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, Teresa Riesgo, the leaders of the CITIES Timanfaya Project have confirmed the Ministry's full support for this initiative, in which a dozen entities participate Spanish companies with the purpose of putting into operation a fleet of large-capacity, multimedia and electric autonomous buses, which will take the tour of the Mountains of Fire, in Lanzarote, in two years.

This is a totally Spanish R + D + i project in which 20 doctors and 40 university graduates from different disciplines participate and that will place Spanish technology in autonomous mobility at the international forefront. Teresa Riesgo has expressed the interest of the Ministry that Pedro Duque directs in promoting an interministerial commission that studies the necessary adaptation of the legislation to autonomous transport, an essential step for the driverless guagas to make the Timanfaya route in 2020. With the help of the public company Art, Culture and Tourism Centers (CACT), under the Cabildo de Lanzarote, the project is being developed by a Consortium that lead the Spanish Road Association (AEC), the Carlos III University of Madrid and the company 2RK Consultores en Transporte Inteligente, with the participation of Mapfre España, GMV, Vázquez and Torres Ingeniería, GMR Homologations and Albufera Energy Storage.

“We need the capacity, work and knowledge of other ministerial portfolios, essential for a transversal project that represents a major challenge for our country, because it makes us pioneers in collective autonomous mobility, and therefore requires , from an update of existing laws to the challenges posed by a new driving model ”point from the Consortium.


Technical difficulties

Born after the violent volcanic eruptions that hit the south of Lanzarote between the years 1730 and 1736 and that gave rise to the Timanfaya National Park, the Mountains of Fire are formed by an immense lava sea in which volcanic cones crowned by Dantesque rise craters and crossed by long and deep cavities. That an autonomous vehicle manages to make a journey of such complexity is, without a doubt, the greatest technological challenge before CITIES Timanfaya, whose materialization has already taken its first steps with the mapping of the route. For this, differential GPS, stereo vision cameras and lidar equipment (light detection and ranging) have been used, an optical remote sensing technique that uses lasers to obtain a dense sample of the earth's surface producing accurate measurements in three dimensions.

The data resulting from these measurements will allow simulating the Route of the Volcanoes on the tracks that the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) has in Madrid. There, the demonstration vehicle, which has already successfully passed the first technical tests to guarantee the viability of its use in the project, will undergo new tests in order to analyze its behavior before the complex route of the Mountains of Fire.



With a budget of just over one million euros from the Canary Islands Development Fund (FDCAN), CITIES Timanfaya started five months ago with the aim of placing Spain on the world map of driverless mobility. It is a revolutionary and intelligent concept for the use of an ecological, autonomous and safe transport in a unique framework such as the Timanfaya National Park. In this way, CITIES will not only make the island of Lanzarote a world leader in quality tourism, but will position Spanish technology at the forefront of global R&D.