City of Lahti Launches a Personal Carbon Trading Scheme for Citizens

Lahti, Finland, has become the first city in the world to launch a personal carbon trading scheme to reduce emissions from transport. Personal carbon trading means that citizens will benefit from reducing their own mobility emissions.

“The CitiCAP app of Lahti rewards people when the CO2 emissions of mobility are low,” says Anna Huttunen, the project manager for sustainable mobility in the city of Lahti.

Every inhabitant of the city can download the free mobile app that automatically tracks the means of transport used. If the app tracks that the user has replaced driving a car with walking or biking, the app automatically gives the user virtual coins. These coins can be used to purchase tickets for local busses or swimming halls, bags and pedestrian reflectors, for instance.

When using the CitiCAP app, the user can see the personal carbon footprint from transport and how it evolves as they change habits.

In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the goal of the CitiCAP (Citizens’ Cap and Trade Co-created) project is to collect and make available digital data about mobility. Using that data, the city of Lahti can develop new transport services for its citizens.

The app has been tested by a limited number of users for more than a year. During the peak of the coronavirus crisis, the application has provided valuable information on changes in movement patterns. In Lahti, car traffic decreased by approximately 30% and the number of bus passengers within Lahti decreased by almost 80%.

The app has been developed with the software development kit (SDK) from MOPRIM, headquartered in Helsinki.

“MOPRIM has developed unique AI technology to determine the transport mode of the user. The resulting data allows deeper understanding of people mobility, including the carbon footprint, and enables data-driven development of sustainable mobility,” says Petri Martikainen, CEO of MOPRIM.

The CitiCAP mobile app is available in Finland on Google Play and App Store, and its use is voluntary. The experiment will last at least until the end of 2020. The CitiCAP project has received funding from the EU’s Urban Innovative Actions initiative.

 

More information:
Anna Huttunen
Project Manager for Sustainable Mobility, City of Lahti
anna.huttunen@lahti.fi, t. +358 44 4826 176

Petri Martikainen
CEO, MOPRIM
petri@moprim.com, t. +358 50 5500 666

The project website:
https://www.lahti.fi/en/services/transportation-and-streets/citicap

 

Read the original news article on the website of City of Lahti.

Vaisala Road-Ai helps Ringway Ltd in road inspections during the pandemic

Ringway has employed a form of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to allow essential highways maintenance checks to safely continue. The mobile data collection system with a broader vision in road video capture increases AI-based added value to support operations. Ringway is one of the strongest consulting companies in UK road and infrastructure management industry.

In partnership with Vaisala and Hertfordshire County Council, the Ringway team had originally started a trial in February to determine whether AI could be used to record road defects. When the COVID-19 crisis hit in March, the trial of the technology was accelerated as it helped with social distancing measures. Picture shows the video software trained to identify signage.

‘The Vaisala RoadAI technology requires only one member of the highways team to inspect the designated route. In place of the second team member, it uses video recording technology to capture and transmit footage, including individual network defects, to a Vaisala cloud system for automated analysis,’ Ringway said.

After the AI data analysis, based on machine learning, the footage is then available for review to help teams plan their maintenance actions.

Following the successful pilot and implementation of the RoadAI system in Hertfordshire, Ringway is discussing deploying the application with many other clients and is now able to move to single person inspections for the duration of the current working restrictions.

Yogesh Patel, process and improvement director at Ringway, said: ‘This is a brilliant example of where one of our teams has applied new technology to a conventional process and resolved a real and immediate problem with some excellent results.’

As a result of the new technology, Ringway has been able to redeploy many drivers and inspectors, originally used for road inspections to other essential highway maintenance activities.

Kevin Carrol, Ringway Hertfordshire divisional manager, said: ‘The safety of our people is paramount, and by using this technology we are able to ensure they are working in a safe environment.

‘Secondly, it allows us to continue with essential road maintenance during lockdown and in line with government recommendations. Social distancing, and limitations with public transport, has meant that roads are now the principal choice on which people are travelling and we need to ensure they are safe for emergency services, key workers and the general public.’

Cllr Phil Bibby, cabinet member for highways at Hertfordshire County Council, said: ‘This technology is great news for drivers in Hertfordshire. We’re always trying to find new and better ways of doing things, and the COVID-19 restrictions have given us the impetus to take rapid leaps forward that might otherwise have taken months to implement.

‘I’m really pleased that Ringway has been able to deploy this technology and continue with road inspections under difficult circumstances while freeing up staff for essential maintenance work.’

Read the original news article on Highways magazine’s website.

A Unique Smart City Pilot Goes Live In Espoo, Finland

A company consortium led by Nokia is targeting the global smart city markets, worth tens of billions of euros.  The LuxTurrim5G ecosystem has just completed a one-of-a-kind piloting environment that boosts the development of new data-driven services for cities both in Finland and abroad. It covers the route from Nokia HQ Campus in Espoo, Finland, to the near-by Kera railway station. Comprising of 19 smart poles with the latest 5G technology and altogether 250 interconnected devices it brings super-fast connectivity and extensive sensor network available for practical piloting of digital smart city services.

The LuxTurrim5G project has been progressing systematically from multi-disciplinary research to practice.  The 5G smart pole concept does not only boast a 5G base station integrated into a light pole but also weather and air quality sensors, video cameras, displays, an electric vehicle charging point and other devices. The concept has now reached its piloting phase for practical applications. The extensive pilot network of 19 smart poles has just been completed in Kera, Espoo, covering areas in Nokia’s Espoo Campus and extending to the nearby Kera railway station. The smart poles, using the so called millimetre wave 5G technology, bring high-speed 5G connectivity and an extensive network of sensors within the reach of the users.

”This is a globally unique smart city pilot where a high-speed and low latency 5G network, an extensive sensor network and a data platform bring novel services to the city, its people and community,” says Pekka Wainio, Project Manager, Nokia Bell Labs.  “Local data collected by the various devices, cameras and sensors within the network can be used to produce a multitude of local services through the open interfaces of the data platform. We have received wide interest on how the surveillance cameras and radar devices can be utilised in overall security surveillance, traffic and road quality monitoring, for remote control of self-driving vehicles and in other transport and logistics services,” Wainio continues.

The smart pole network itself, built by Nokia and its partners, comprises approximately 250 interconnected devices, such as three new generation 5G base stations (26 GHz by Nokia), more than 50 WiFi devices (60 GHz), 75 video cameras, 49 different sensors monitoring the air quality, weather, temperature, road surface state as well as CO2 levels etc. (Vaisala and others), nine radar devices (six traffic radars and three lidars), seven information screens, an electric vehicle charging station and a drone charging and landing station at the top of the pole (Rumble Tools).

In addition to the smart poles, the LuxTurrim5G pilot network also has two smart and safe bus stops (Connected Zone by Teleste,) and a separate city information display, showcasing how different sensors can be integrated into the elements found in the urban infrastructure. These are part of the “LuxTurrim5G smart urban furniture” we are developing for cities. Drones and self-driving vehicles, such as the self-driving shuttle bus (Sensible 4), are also an essential part of the piloting entity where the infrastructure, functionality and services for a smart city are developed in a holistic way.

From light poles to smart poles

The LuxTurrim5G smart pole concept has been developed to meet the future needs of cities. It is not about the light pole as such, as this is a completely new element forming an essential part of the key infrastructure of a smart city – its digital backbone. The recently implemented smart pole version already serves as a pre-commercial pilot product which helps to design the actual smart pole product family. The companies mainly responsible for the design and manufacturing of the pilot poles have been Tehomet Oy and Orbis Oy.

”This is the first large-scale smart pole pilot in Finland, and a globally significant project. The shift from traditional light poles to smart poles is a natural, but also a challenging task where every partners’ role matters. Currently we are already working with the next generation of smart poles and focusing on designing and productising a complete product family. Smart poles hold huge potential for global markets,” says Sami Huuskonen, Design Manager at Tehomet Oy.

The integration of several devices to form a well-functioning entity has been the key area of development in manufacturing of the smart poles.

“The limited space in the smart poles sets its challenges in the installation environment. The devices integrated into the pole also have different interfaces that must be connected to the same cabling system for data and power supply. The smart poles that are being piloted in the LuxTurrim5G ecosystem enable services that are needed today but they also serve as a platform for future services. We have designed our solution so that it is possible to add and replace equipment over the course of the smart pole’s life cycle. As the needs are evolving, it will not be necessary to replace the entire pole or dig new trunk cables under street level,” says Jani Linna-Aro, CEO of Orbis Oy.

Digital services for sustainability and smoother living

Espoo is going to transform the Kera area to a smart and urban district with at least 14,000 residents and 10,000 jobs in near future. Kera will become a showcase of sustainable urban development and an international reference case, where the city works together with its partners to create novel, clean and smart solutions to enhance the smoother living of its people. The future Kera will be a significant piloting ground for new solutions, paving the way to larger international projects. The role of Espoo as a pioneer of sustainable development appointed by the United Nations also promotes this approach.

”The newly implemented LuxTurrim5G pilot network and its smart route from Nokia Campus to Kera railway station showcase an excellent example of a new kind of bold and concrete co-innovation between companies and the city,” says Pekka Vikkula, Project Director at City of Espoo.

The LuxTurrim5G smart pole network will form the digital backbone of a smart city offering high-speed connectivity and a versatile sensor network. This in turn brings a wide variety of relevant on-line data available e.g. on environment, weather, traffic flows, public safety, usage of energy to be used by the city and companies for specific needs and to create holistic situational awareness.  Cities have also big amounts of own data which often is not widely utilized. The project has already been developing a data platform that is capable of processing large masses of data from various sources in a reliable and efficient manner. All this is important for building new data-driven services for the city needs. LuxTurrim5G partners are excited to move now to practical piloting of different service concepts in the actual live environment. This lays the foundations to the development of the Kera area and helps us to validate our solutions for scale-up in international projects. Through this Espoo pilot, the LuxTurrim5G consortium shares an ambitious target to expand to global smart city markets, worth tens of billions of euros.

Read the original news article on The LuxTurrim5G’s website. Photo: LuxTurrim5G

Data helps the city of Vaasa go carbon neutral

A collaboration project between the City of Vaasa, Vaasan Sähkö, Wärtsilä and TietoEVRY is aiming to build one of the world’s first solutions to help a city go carbon neutral.

In the pilot, the team is researching measures that could slow down climate change, with the City of Vaasa a pilot environment.

Cities all over the world are facing the same problem: CO2 emissions need to be cut down and there’s no time to waste. Plenty of data is needed for efficient decision-making, such as the scale of emissions from hospitals, schools, transportation and heating, as well as the factors that affect them; but the information is often scattered across different organisations. It’s difficult to estimate the emissions of particular actions beforehand – and so is keeping track of the effectiveness of the changes.

A new tool to help demonstrate the impact of climate change

To solve the problem, the City of Vaasa has embarked on a ground-breaking experiment. It brings together all the data from its three biggest carbon emission sources – transportation, heating and electricity consumption – enabling the parties involved to scrutinise the impact of different actions on emission levels. With the help of the new tool, it’s possible to demonstrate where and how the city’s emissions are generated, which allows the efficiency of different measures to be simulated and verified. What would happen to emissions if the temperature in schools was dropped by one degree, or a car-free day was organised? In the first phase, the experiment includes approximately 30% of the city’s carbon emission sources.

– In the project, we’ll produce a tool for the City of Vaasa to bring about an in-depth understanding of the phenomena behind emissions, as well as a way to target well-planned measures efficiently and track their effectiveness, explains Fredrik Jansson, Principal Consultant, Data and Ecosystems, TietoEVRY.

– In the big picture, we’re studying phenomena and testing practical solutions to slow down climate change in a city environment. Soon, we will have results that form a basis for other cities to tackle the same challenges, he continues.

– It’s only natural that an experiment like this takes place in Vaasa, considering the cluster of energy technology and strong expertise in the region. We’re proud to be part of a collaboration that is taking concrete steps to slow down climate change. This experiment also strengthens our aim to make the city carbon neutral by 2030, says the mayor of the City of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry.

Open access to data is key to success

Collaboration between all parties is a quintessential part of the project. The companies and the city are committed to sharing information and offering access to data that has traditionally been held internally. On top of the interface itself, building a collaborative model for the parties involved plays a crucial role.

– This co-operation is a great example of how we can combine our expertise in the energy industry in Vaasa and build solutions that are innovative and useful on a global scale. For us, this is yet another way to test new models and cut down carbon emissions,” notes Stefan Damlin, CEO of Vaasan Sähkö.

The project originally stems from the open collaboration between the Committed network and local actors in Vaasa.

– Wärtsilä and TietoEVRY are founding members of Committed and it’s great to see a concrete tool grow from an idea to execution so quickly after the network was founded,” says Matti Rautkivi, Director, Wärtsilä.

– This is also an excellent example of the operating model we’re forming at the Smart Technology Hub being built in Vaskiluoto, Vaasa. In the future, co-operation will happen within ecosystems.

Additional information and interview requests

City of Vaasa: communications manager, Leena Forsén, leena.forsen@vaasa.fi, 040 6350762
TietoEVRY: communications manager, Jenni Jusslin, jenni.jusslin@tietoevry.com, 050 322 1420
Vaasan Sähkö: communications manager, Mikaela Jussila, mikaela.jussila@vaasansahko.fi, 06 324 5162
Wärtsilä Finland: communications director, Hanna-Mari Soini, hanna-mari.soini@wartsila.com, 010 709 5095

The City of Vaasa
Always sunny, the City of Vaasa is the energy capital of the Nordics, bringing together innovativeness, technology, high-quality services, diverse education and cultural opportunities, as well as an energetic atmosphere. www.vaasa.fi

Vaasan Sähkö
Vaasan Sähkö is a strong energy corporation, with its core businesses in selling and distributing energy. The corporation’s affiliate is Vaasan Sähköverkko. Vaasan Sähkö employs approximately 120 staff and in 2019 its turnover was EUR 153 million. www.vaasansahko.fi

TietoEVRY
TietoEVRY creates digital advantage for businesses and society. We are a leading digital services and software company with local presence and global capabilities. Our Nordic values and heritage steer our success.

Headquartered in Finland, TietoEVRY employs around 24 000 experts globally. The company serves thousands of enterprise and public sector customers in more than 90 countries. TietoEVRY’s annual turnover is approximately EUR 3 billion and its shares are listed on the NASDAQ in Helsinki and Stockholm, as well as the Oslo Børs. www.tietoevry.com

Wärtsilä
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2019, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.2 billion, with approximately 19,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.wartsila.com

Committed
For more information about the Committed network, visit: committed.energy

Read the original news article on TietoEVRY’s website. Photo: TietoEVRY

Finnish AI research gets boost from NVIDIA

The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI) and NVIDIA have announced the establishment of a joint research centre to accelerate artificial intelligence research, education and adoption in Finland.

Called NVIDIA AI Technology Center (NVAITC), the centre will begin its operations next month, offering researchers an opportunity to develop computationally demanding AI applications with the help of the graphics processing unit (GPU) and artificial intelligence software expertise of NVIDIA.

Examples of such applications can be found in the fields of healthcare and smart cities, for instance.

Keijo Heljanko, professor of computer science at the University of Helsinkisaid achieving scientific breakthroughs in artificial intelligence may require the processing of such large datasets that researchers may not be able to complete their work without the support of a centre such as NVAITC.

“NVIDIA has in-depth expertise in GPU-based systems, which all AI researchers have not yet access to,” he stated.

The GPUs of NVIDIA are used especially for AI model training and interference. The computing platform of the hardware provider is used in business and research efforts worldwide to harness the power of artificial intelligence, according to Simon See, senior director of NVAITC at NVIDIA.

The California-based company has previously set up NVAITCs in Luxembourg, Italy and Asia.

Also the Finnish IT Centre for Science (CSC) will lend a hand to the project by supplying a substantial amount of computing power for researchers at its server farm in Kajaani, central Finland.

“We are able to provide researchers with significant GPU capacity and expert support for the utilisation of artificial intelligence-based high-performance computing environments,” told Kimmo Koski, CEO of CSC.

FCAI is a Finnish community of AI experts coordinated by Aalto University, the University of Helsinki and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Read the original news article on The Good News from Finland’s website. Photo: The Good News from Finland 

Enfuce powers payments in MaaS Global’s revolutionary mobility app

Maas Global, the leading Mobility as a Service provider, has partnered with Enfuce – Finland’s largest fintech startup – to launch a card payment offering in Whim, MaaS Global’s all-inclusive mobility app. The partnership enables MaaS Global to issue Mastercard prepaid cards securely, and expand its offering to new markets.

MaaS Global revolutionises urban mobility by gathering all public and private transport services in convenient, traveling subscriptions. Since its launch 2017, users of Whim – the world’s first commercially available MaaS solution – have made more than eight million trips using public transport, taxis, rental bikes and cars, and other options.

Partnering with Enfuce, MaaS Global accessed a flexible and fully scalable payment infrastructure solution. Enfuce’s team managed the entire set-up, including a BIN Sponsorship required for issuing Mastercards. The turnkey service allows MaaS Global to operate safe, compliant and future-proof payments in all of its current and future markets.

“Together with Enfuce we solved one of the biggest problems in the mobility industry, namely, letting people make payments for any mode of transport globally. With Enfuce’s close guidance, we can offer Whim customers a reliable, efficient and most of all easy payment experience – bringing us closer to our vision of truly friction free travel,” said Petteri Laesvuori, CTO at MaaS Global.

Through the proprietary solution, Whim users can top up their card and pay for various multimodal subscriptions and pay-as-you go plans in one place, instead of having to make separate payments for scooter rental, bus operator, etc. Whim cards are entirely virtual and open-loop, meaning they will (over time) be accepted by any merchant via Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay mobile wallets.

The service is initially launching in the UK and further market rollouts, including Singapore, are scheduled for later in 2020.

“We’re excited to help power MaaS Global’s groundbreaking solution. Our one-stop-shop service facilitates secure and scalable payments, and allows our partner to focus on their core business. We’ve long admired MaaS Global’s progress, and are thrilled about delivering a solution that rhymes with their vision,” said Monika Liikamaa, Co-Founder and Chair, Enfuce.

Relying on Enfuce’s operational and compliance expertise, MaaS Global can continuously grow and develop its payment product globally. Enfuce’s Business Services add-on equips MaaS Global with back office tools for resolving risk-, support- and fraud-related situations.

“Both of us share a passion for building smart services that positively impact millions of consumers’ lives. We look forward to helping MaaS Global provide a seamless service that enables people to access and pay for all their transport needs in one place,” Liikamaa adds.

About Maas Global & Whim

MaaS Global is the world leader in the field of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) with its award-winning Whim app, which provides users all transport services in one app. With over eight million trips made since its launch in November 2017, Whim is the first all-inclusive MaaS solution commercially available on the market. Whim allows users to journey where and when they want with public transport, taxis, cars, and many other options, all under a single monthly subscription. Whim has revolutionized users’ travel habits, in favor of sustainable modes. MaaS Global was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. The company is funded by several strategic investors such as Mitsui Fudosan, BP Ventures, Mitsubishi Corporation Toyota Financial Services, Karsan Otomotiv, Transdev, Aioi Nissay Dowa, Denso and Veho. The total amount of investments is 53.7 million euros. whimapp.com/about-us/

About Enfuce

Enfuce offers payment, open banking and sustainability services to banks, fintechs, financial operators, and merchants. By combining industry expertise, compliance and innovative technology, they are delivering long term and scalable solutions fast and securely. Established in 2016, Enfuce employs over 50 driven professionals in the Nordics and has close to 10 million end-users on its platform. www.enfuce.com

Read the original news article on Enfuce’s website. Photo: Enfuce

Semi-autonomous truck convoying gives new opportunities – also in Finland

A study conducted by the University of Oulu indicates that truck convoying has positive impacts on fuel economy and on emissions.

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) convoying gives new opportunities also in Finland. The study shows improvements in fuel economy and reduction in emissions. It also changes the drivers’ roles.

In a semi-autonomous convoy, the lead truck is followed by 1–4 trucks that operate semi-autonomously. The convoying trucks are connected to each other with communication technology, and the lead truck’s driver is the most active one.

The study demonstrated the suitability of convoying on Finnish roads and in different traffic and weather conditions. The study also showed there are road infrastructure requirements to enable convoying; for example, there is a need for areas suitable for waiting and forming convoys. The Finnish results are in line with studies conducted in other countries.

“Test drives indicated that convoying enables fuel savings, but the amount of savings was dependent on the lead driver’s driving style and the vehicle’s position in relation to the other vehicles”, explains doctoral student MA, MSc Veikko Pekkala, who acted as the trial’s investigator at the University of Oulu.

In general, drivers that participated in the study considered positively the use of driver assistance systems applied on convoying. The drivers felt that convoying facilitated their work. The using of emerging technology, easiness of convoying, and the perceived sense of safety and peer-communality were considered positive. On the negative side, drivers suspected that their job may turn into a supervision type of task.

The increase of convoying automation sets new requirements not only for infrastructure but also for regulation and work skills. More efficient deployment of convoying requires that control and monitoring systems are developed so that optimisation of route and convoying options can deliver tangible benefits.

Transport in convoys requires open and real-time sharing of freight and traffic information. This in turn requires cooperation throughout the entire transport chain so that the role of authorities is also clarified. The findings of the study indicate active research is further required to support decision-making and making the transition to take place.

“An important offset in the research and development of HGV convoying is that there is currently a notable shortage of truck drivers in Europe. Novel technology is expected to attract new employees to the sector,” states Professor Rauno Heikkilä from the University of Oulu.

“The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom supports these types of innovative trials. Our aim is to increase the knowledge on how the digitalisation and automation of HGV transport can promote more efficient and environmentally friendly transportation,” comments Eetu Pilli-Sihvola, Chief Adviser, who represented Traficom in the project Management Group.

The University of Oulu carried out the experimental study in cooperation with Scania CV Ab, Oyj Ahola Transport Abp and Oy Attracs Ab. In the experiment co-financed by the European Union, authorities were represented by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.

The study was the first to examine the opportunities, prerequisites and impacts of convoying in Finland. Test drives were carried out on different types of roads in Southern and Northern Finland in both summer and winter conditions.

The trial was part of the pan-Nordic NordicWay2 project funded by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility (www.nordicway.net).

Read the original news article on University of Oulu’s website. Photo: University of Oulu

Blog: Traffic’s new normal

The invisible enemy that is the coronavirus changed everything overnight. Now, we must think what the world will be like in the future. As some sort of gauge of activity, traffic reflects the state of our society and economy in many ways. As such, it is quite natural to take a look at the post-coronavirus world from the point of view of traffic.

The following assumptions are based on the optimistic view that an effective vaccine for the disease is widely available around the world in 2021.

Air traffic recovers slowly but surely

In recent decades, air traffic has increased at an annual average of five per cent (https://www.icao.int/sustainability/Pages/Facts-Figures_WorldEconomyData.aspx). Flying has nearly doubled in the 2000s.

This spring, we have witnessed the most dramatic shock in the entire 100-year history of aviation. Up to 90 per cent of flights have been grounded. Even though air traffic has recovered quickly from previous shocks due to the strength of the global economy and social networks, recovery this time will take much longer.

The speed of recovery will depend on three factors: how quickly different countries remove their travel restrictions, will countries start turning more inwards and how soon companies and consumers will have the courage to start making travel decisions.

The plight of companies in the aviation industry can mean closing down flight routes – especially unprofitable ones. The growth in demand for air travel will be slowed by companies learning how to utilise remote meetings better as well as consumers’ newfound interest in traveling closer to home. The demand for air travel, especially over short distances, will also be dampened by reasons related to the climate.

Globally, the number of air traffic passengers may not return to the level of 2019 at least before 2023. However, the popularity of air travel will increase as restrictions are lifted because the schedules of people today mean flying is the only option for long-distance travel.

Rail traffic on the rise

Train traffic is fully capable of recovering quite quickly to the level of previous years after the coronavirus situation. Thus far, the reduction in train traffic in Finland has not been as dramatic as for air traffic, even as the number of train passengers has dropped. This provides a good basis for the rapid increase in passenger numbers.

The demand for train traffic is supported by the popularity of domestic travel caused by the coronavirus situation. In addition, reasons related to the climate will make trains a viable transport option in the coming years. For example, the government in France aims to actively promote train traffic as part of their support package for Air France (https://www.railwaygazette.com/news/trains-prioritised-over-planes-in-air-france-rescue-deal/56408.article.)

What about road and sea traffic?

During the past 25 years, road traffic has decreased slightly only in 2008 (-0.1%) and 2009 (-0.3%). This year, the decrease in road traffic will be sharper. During the spring, road traffic has decreased by up to a third (https://tmfg.fi/en/news/coronavirus-continues-have-significant-effect-traffic-volumes).

The combination of remote working and an economic downturn may prolong the reduction in road traffic for some time after the coronavirus shock. On the other hand, the increased popularity of domestic travel may increase the use of cars. For road traffic, the wild card is how the coronavirus impacts the eagerness of Finns for cycling and walking. Will the fear of diseases caused by the coronavirus have us gripping the wheel of the car more often? And will hard-hit traffic service providers be able to provide consumers with attractive digital mobility services as an option to cars?

As sea traffic goes, the coronavirus has proven, once and for all, how dependent Finland’s security of supply is on marine freight. Sea traffic accounts for 84 per cent of foreign trade tonnes, making it absolutely essential. A large part of maritime freight is transported on the same ships as passenger traffic.

The Finnish economy and population have such close connections to Estonia and Sweden that maritime passenger traffic may pick up surprisingly quickly as soon as some travel restrictions have been lifted and some ground rules regarding safety have been established.

Mikko Saariaho
Chief Impact Officer

Read the original blog on Traffic Management Finland’s website

Photo: Traffic Management Finland

PayiQ and MaaS Global Oy Partner for Domestic and International Markets

PayiQ and MaaS Global are heading together for global markets. The companies strengthen their partnership to provide the best solution for smart cities, transportation industry and the whole MaaS sector.

MaaS Global and PayiQ are taking their cooperation for Mobility as a Service market to a new strategic level. They’re expanding their cooperation beyond MaaS, smart ticketing data, real time public transport fleet information, intelligent ticketing analysis and multi-modal adoptions with PayiQ’s “Hop-on Hop-off”. This will make public transport safer for next generation travelers. PayiQ’s innovation makes inroads into MaaS for “hands-free tickets”.

This partnership includes speed to market integrations and adding smart ticketing and payments to the platform (backend) level. MaaS Global and PayiQ will execute fast deployments across global markets and collaborate on joint sales efforts for this sector, providing the best solution for smart cities, public transportation industry and the entire MaaS ecosystem.

“We are excited to get our cooperation into this new practical level. We have collaborated since the beginning of the company, then called MaaS Finland, as PayiQ was one of its founding members. Together we can provide a total solution for the global MaaS market. You will start seeing the results of this cooperation shortly on real implementations” says Tuomo Parjanen, the CEO of PayiQ.

“This is a major initiative for both of us. Our resources are being moved from sales into research and development while the world is experiencing never seen before challenges. Innovation will be on steroids for months to come. The world will soon see unorthodox alliances, a flood of new products and services, and plenty of radical rethinking that would not have been possible at ordinary times. By joining our forces we will be even stronger and better prepared for the new era”, tells Sampo Hietanen, the CEO of MaaS Global.

Read the original news article on PayiQ’s website. Photo: PayiQ.

VTT to acquire Finland’s first quantum computer – seeking to bolster Finland’s competitiveness

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is launching a project to acquire Finland’s first quantum computer. The first phase of this three-phase project is seeking to bolster Finland’s ability to design and build quantum computers, and to create a competence base for future applications. The design and construction of the quantum computer will be carried out as an innovation partnership.

Quantum technology will revolutionise many industrial sectors, and will already begin spawning new, nationally significant business and research opportunities over the next few years. Advancements in quantum technology and, in particular, the technological leap afforded by quantum computers – aka the quantum leap – will enable unprecedented computing power and the ability to solve problems that are impossible for today’s supercomputers.

Building this quantum computer will provide Finland with an exceptional level of capabilities in both research and technology, and will safeguard Finland’s position at the forefront of new technology. The goal is to create a unique ecosystem for the development and application of quantum technology in Finland, in collaboration with companies and universities. VTT hopes to partner with progressive Finnish companies from a variety of sectors during the various phases of implementation and application.

The development and construction of Finland’s quantum computer will be carried out as an innovation partnership that VTT will be opening up for international tender. The project will run for several years and its total cost is estimated at about EUR 20–25 million.

The project will progress in stages. The first phase will last for about a year and aims to get a minimum five-qubit quantum computer in working order. However, the ultimate goal is a considerably more powerful machine with a larger number of qubits.

“In the future, we’ll encounter challenges that cannot be met using current methods. Quantum computing will play an important role in solving these kinds of problems. For example, the quantum computers of the future will be able to accurately model viruses and pharmaceuticals, or design new materials in a way that is impossible with traditional methods,” says Antti Vasara, CEO of VTT.

Through this project, VTT is seeking to be a world leader in quantum technology and its application.

“The pandemic has shocked not only Finland’s economy but also the entire world economy, and it will take us some time to recover from the consequences. To safeguard economic recovery and future competitiveness, it’s now even more important than ever to make investments in innovation and future technologies that will create demand for Finnish companies’ products and services,” says Vasara.

VTT has lengthy experience and top expertise in both quantum technology research and related fields of science and technology, such as superconductive circuits and cryogenics, microelectronics and photonics. In Otaniemi, VTT and Aalto University jointly run Micronova, a world-class research infrastructure that enables experimental research and development in quantum technologies. This infrastructure will be further developed to meet the requirements of quantum technologies. Micronova’s cleanrooms are already equipped to manufacture components and products based on quantum technologies.

Read the original news article on VTT’s web page.