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Nov, 2018

"Lanzarote, a world pioneer in introducing autonomous vehicles to ecologically sensitive tourism sites.""

The journey into the Martian landscape of Timanfaya National Park is now to become even more futuristic. Visitors will experience this natural wonder from the safety of electric, autonomous vehicles, and with minimum impact on this ecologically sensitive environment.

Showcasing Spain’s first autonomous electric vehicle. The CITIES TIMANFAYA PROJECT (CITIES, an acronym for the Spanish version of “Intelligent Concept for Safe, Environmentally-friendly Integrated Transport”), is part of the ongoing drive towards sustainable tourism in Lanzarote, led by the Art, Culture and Tourism Centres of Lanzarote (CACT). CACT is one of ten Spanish institutions involved in this state-of the-art project, including Carlos III University of Madrid and the National Institute for Aerospace Technology. It also has the backing of Spain’s General Directorate of Land Transport and Ministry of the Interior. This new initiative not only responds to today’s urgent need for innovations in autonomous electrical mobility, but it also brings extraordinary environmental benefits to an area of natural distinction.

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An unparalleled natural environment.

Indeed, Lanzarote has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1992 due to its unique natural environment. Timanfaya National Park, the astounding lunar landscape that was left behind after the 17t-century eruptions, is the island’s most popular attraction. The park covers an area of 807 km, a quarter of the island’s territory. A total of 32 volcanoes now stand in the region, which underwent eruptions lasting six years, covering five villages in lava, ash and dust forever.

The Volcano Route: ground-breaking innovation in safe, sustainable tourism

The visitor centre and the “Volcano Route”, created in 1968, were the brainchild of Lanzarote artist Cesar Manrique, who strived to preserve his island’s natural treasures. Conventional coaches currently navigate the winding 9-mile route, cutting through walls of richly-coloured lava and offers their occupants a frontline view of majestic volcanoes and wildlife. Once these electric autonomous buses are in place, visitors will be able to witness this surreal landscape with a higher level of active and passive security. The vehicles will also reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by 469 tonnes per year, representing annual savings of up to €180,000, a sum usually spent on fossil fuels to run the park’s current tour bus system.

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The path to a sustainable future

Lanzarote’s Minister for Tourism, Echedey Eugenio, views the project as “the beginning of a Lanzarote’s transport revolution, boosting the island’s position as a reference in sustainable tourism. Visitors and residents alike will be guaranteed an outstanding, first-hand experience in the spectacular landscape of the Fire Mountains in a safe, clean and environmentally-responsible way.” CITIES Lanzarote is another public initiative that stays true to César Manrique’s fundamental desire for his homeland:

"We live on this planet for such a short space of time, that every step we take should lead us nearer to the utopian dream. Let’s build it together: it’s the only way. Cesar Manrique ."

 

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