Unveiling Innovation Potential of Circular Approaches in Automotive Electronics and Beyond

Project: EU project

Project Details


To strengthen EU’s global competitiveness and resilience, the updated Industrial Strategy calls for accelerating the green and digital transitions of key European ecosystems. UNICORN foresees functional electronics as an enabler & catalyser of EU mobility’s twin transition. Using a car-as-a lab, UNICORN is aiming at increasing the circularity-driven functional integration of electronics in automotive, while simultaneously embedding eco-design principles in their development and ensuring net beneficial effect on climate change mitigation. UNICORN will demonstrate a capability to design & develop innovative green and circular technologies for automotive electronics, based on four electronic systems (composite-embedded, in-molded, textile/plastic and rubber-integrated) taken from industrial use cases for a battery casing, a dashboard, a seat/door system and a tire. Solutions will 1) encompass lightweight, low impact and/or bio-based materials for (flexible) substrates, films, encapsulation, inks, solvents, adhesives and flat cabling & interconnects; 2) validate resource/energy efficient, net shape, additive, printing, encapsulating and (reversible) bonding manufacturing processes for circuitry, sensors, gauges, antennas, interconnects; and 3) implement design for material circularity via reversible design, modularity, form factors to increase disassembly and recovery of valuable material. For harnessing benefits of these technologies, UNICORN will set a new methodology for net impact assessment and eco-design guidelines for automotive electronics designers & developers. It will establish a vision and roadmap on the role of functional electronics for supporting EU mobility climate targets, and set the blueprints for transfers in further application sectors. UNICORN gathers 12 partners (7 companies) mutualising skills and pilot/industrial capacities on flexible, printed & organic electronics, circularity & regulatory competences and business leaderships in Automotive.
Effective start/end date1/09/2231/08/25

Collaborative partners

  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
  • Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH
  • TactoTek Oy
  • Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
  • VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH (Project partner) (lead)
  • Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA)
  • Valeo Systemes Thermiques SAS
  • IEE International Electronics & Engineering SA
  • New Cable Corporation Oy
  • Faurecia Interieur Industrie SAS

Funding category

  • Horizon Europe


  • manufacturing engineering
  • textiles
  • sensors
  • ecosystems
  • climatic changes