Västra Götaland

Collaboration as a driver for innovation

The Västra Götaland transport cluster draws its strength from a long tradition of collaboration between academia and the public and private sectors. An early understanding of the value of cooperation and open innovation is the reason why Västra Götaland is today a leading force in several fields of research and innovation. For many years, the region has been characterized by openness to the surrounding world. It has been named the best logistics location in Sweden for ten straight years and the region’s five key clusters (Urban Future, Marine Environment, Green Chemistry, Life Science, and Transport Solutions) are built upon solid cooperation between industry, academia and the public sector but also between companies. This has contributed to the development of the automotive sector and its innovations within the areas of safe and green vehicles, transport, and mobility solutions. 



Automotive Leader

The largest automotive region in Sweden, Västra Götaland employs 42,000 people within the sector. The region is home to AB Volvo, Volvo Cars and other successful companies such as Autoliv, a cluster of IT and telematics companies as well as small and medium enterprises within the sectors of transport efficiency, renewable fuels, and electromobility. Prominent research and teaching is carried out at the Chalmers University of Technology, with 14,000 students and teachers, and centers of excellence in safety, renewable fuels, combustion engines, and electric hybrid technology research. Important hubs for automotive research and innovation are the open arenas at Lindholmen Science Park and Innovatum Technology Park. 


Historical Insight into Safety Cooperation

The strong safety research infrastructure in Västra Götaland has a long history and industry-industry and industry-academia cooperation is well established. As early as 1956 Volvo (now AB Volvo and Volvo Cars) and Autoliv worked together to pioneer seat belt technology. Safety has always been a core value for Volvo, and the company has historically been one of the first on the market in terms of innovation and implementation in the safety field, often in cooperation with Autoliv. Volvo Cars is one of few car manufacturers with its own accident research team, which has a unique track record in having studied 40,000 accidents since it was established.


SAFER Joint Research Unit

SAFER Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre, hosted by Chalmers and located at Lindholmen Science Park, is a joint research unit where 25 partners from the Swedish automotive industry, academia, and authorities cooperate to create a center of excellence within the field of vehicle and traffic safety. SAFER focuses on a range of research-intensive topics, from pre-competitive research on active safety (pre-crash), passive safety (crash and post-crash) to traffic safety analysis. The center’s activities involve the highest elite in the field of traffic safety, and the results contribute to increasing the competitive advantages of the center’s partner companies and organizations.



ASTA - Active Safety Test Area

The new proving ground for active safety systems, AstaZero, offers a globally unique environment for integrated traffic safety research in Europe, where authorities, academia, and industry can together make significant advances. The testing facility, which will open in 2014, will give researchers and industry in Sweden and abroad the opportunity to test new solutions for active road safety, safer vehicles, and reduced environmental impacts. It is strategically located at the heart of the Swedish automotive cluster and the assembled expertise that exists within the field of safety. The test area’s innovative research environment and proximity to the European network will mean unique opportunities in the future, both for individual researchers and for major projects and collaborations within the field. Future development of AstaZero includes new research fields such as electrification. The company ASTA is owned by Chalmers Technical University and SP Technical Research Institute and is financially supported by Region Västra Götaland, AB Volvo, Volvo Cars, Autoliv, Scania, the City of Borås, Test Site Sweden, Vinnova, and the European Regional Development Fund.


Shared Goal to Reduce Environmental Effects

AB Volvo, the world leader when it comes to fuel effective hybrid vehicles, in collaboration with Västra Götaland and Gothenburg City, has a common goal of achieving more effective transportation with lower fuel consumption and reduced environmental effects. This is manifested through joint and live hybrid projects in Västra Götaland.


Hybrid Bus Collaboration

The Volvo hybrid bus model consumes almost 40% less fuel than ordinary diesel buses, thereby reducing carbon emissions by the same amount. Volvo hybrid buses running on bio diesel reduce the climate impact still further. The Volvo hybrid bus is equipped with a smaller diesel engine and an electrical engine. The energy that is re-generated during braking is collected in a battery.  At bus stops, the diesel engine is turned off. The bus does not then emit any particulates or gases and runs quietly on electricity. Around 30 hybrid buses are running in Västra Götaland, and they are very much appreciated by the public.


The Volvo plug-in hybrid bus has a battery with a larger energy capacity and an option that allows for electric grid charging and all-electric driving in certain driving conditions. Plug-in hybrid buses using RME fuel in a diesel-electric power train and rapid charging at end stations are currently being tested and demonstrated in Gothenburg. These buses are expected to use 60% less energy than a conventional diesel bus and achieve more than a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions. Volvo also has all-electric buses in development that are likely to run in the city in the future.


Common Vision

There is a shared vision in Västra Götaland that investing in testing and demonstration is important. In combination with strong competence and a collaborative approach to technical development, this should influence innovation in a positive way. In the future we are likely to see more examples of projects where vehicles in Västra Götaland are connected to the environment, traffic, infrastructure, people, and the city.


SAGE partners

Region Västra Götaland

Chalmers University of Technology

Volvo Group


Contributing partners

Lindholmen Science Park

Innovatum Science Park



Viktoria Swedish ICT

Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Centre



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Newsletter #5–6

SAGE Newsletter #5–6 more