Self-Driving Pilot in Finland a Success

Finland Finnish self-driving technology company Sensible 4 has carried out a successful autonomous driving pilot in Tampere, Finland, despite the worst and most challenging winter conditions in years.

The pilot, which started in January and lasted for 2.5 months, aimed to see how autonomous vehicles work with public transportation networks and collect feedback from users. Two self-driving Toyota Proace vehicles were used as feeder traffic for the tram trunk line in a suburb of Tampere — a city aiming to pioneer smart city development. The passenger feedback collected was mainly positive and focused on improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

“The self-driving vehicles ran smoothly and felt safe. In the future, I see these kinds of vehicles complementing the public transportation system for certain routes and amounts of passengers. We still need more testing to make sure the reliability in production use, and that the service either brings cost-saving in the areas they are being used or gives better service level to the population with the same costs”, says Mika Kulmala, Project Manager, City of Tampere.

The pilot was a part of the EU funded SHOW project, with an aim to find out how autonomous vehicles could work as a part of urban transportation in the future. The project’s national coordinator Pekka Eloranta from Sitowise is also satisfied with the results of the winter trial: “We got a good amount of passengers to try and test the service, even some regular customers. Also, we were able to collect feedback, for example, concerning accessibility. This aspect is important to take into account to be able to provide service to all user groups in the future.”

Also, Jussi Suomela, CBO of Sensible 4 is very satisfied: “This pilot was valuable for understanding the customer and end-user needs better, including especially the accessibility aspects. The weather was exceptionally snowy but the software and vehicles performed well and we were able to collect important test data of the extreme conditions and experience of the challenging weather.”

The pilot supported the strategic goal of the City of Tampere to be a pioneer in smart city development and was a successful example of multi-stakeholder cooperation. It also provided lessons and experience for other projects. The Smart City Test Area project aims to strengthen the competitiveness of companies and research institutes in the Tampere city region and it offers companies opportunities to test new services in a real urban environment.

“We’d like to see more activities like the autonomous vehicle experiment in Hervanta. The open living lab test area has been designed and developed according to the needs and interests of testers. Also, there’s a new three-year EU project starting next fall to develop the digital infrastructure in the area further, based on the feedback we’ve already received”, says Markku Niemi, Programme Director, Smart City Development, Business Tampere.

Read more about the pilot in extreme conditions in Sensible4’s article.

Finnish smart charging platform Virta opens an office in Singapore

Virta opens an office in Singapore to help Southeast Asian and Australian players with fast EV charging markets entry

The year 2022 will see the Southeast Asian EV charging markets moving to the hypergrowth phase as political decisions, regulations, and incentives drive the new EV sales and charging infrastructure roll-out in the region. Australia, Singapore and Thailand are leading the growth.

Booming electric vehicle sales call for an urgent ramp-up of the charging infrastructure

“Still today, the Southeast Asian markets lag on average three years behind the European, but the gap can be closed quickly thanks to the matured availability of smart charging technologies and the wave of new EV models introduced to the markets,” says Mr Elias Pöyry, who is responsible for the new market expansions at Virta Ltd. His assessment is based on the perspective gained in his position as the chairman of EURELECTRIC’s electromobility working group representing the European energy industry in electric transportation matters.

During this decade majority of the region’s population will move to the higher consuming classes and can afford an electric vehicle. Also, on consumer purchase indicators, Southeast Asia is quickly catching up with Europe, where the plug-in vehicle share of new car registrations has already reached 40% in many countries. Currently, 30% of consumers in Thailand and 19% in Singapore prefer a fully electric or plug-in hybrid car as their next car (Deloitte 2022 Global Automotive Consumer Study, March 2022). According to even the most conservative estimates, this development will result in at least one million EVs on the road by 2025 and well over five million by 2030 in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand alone.

This forecasted EV sales hypergrowth calls for rapid and extensive investments in public and private charging infrastructure. For example, the Australian Government’s future fuels and vehicles strategy (November 2021) aims to create an environment for 1.7 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 and provide convenient access to fast charging for up to 81% of the population in partnership with industry. Meanwhile, in Singapore, The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will launch a tender in April to deploy 12,000 charging points across nearly 2,000 HDB carparks.

The window of opportunity is open for regional and local players to beat the multinationals

“We see that strong regional and local players in SEA and Australia have now a unique window of opportunity to establish their market shares before the multinational competition. However, time is of the essence here. Developing the same level of technological maturity from scratch as the multinationals with walled garden solutions will take so long that the early mover advantage is lost,” says Mr Dave Mommen, the Sales Director of Virta Southeast Asia and Australia.

Virta regional sales engineer Mr Roger Chang has over 14 years of experience with start-ups, scale-ups, and most recently in the EV charging point operations in the region before joining Virta. According to Mr Chang, “The Virta platform’s mature technology and multi-tenant service model developed in European markets means that capabilities to operate and monetise smart EV charging services locally and cross-border can be set up within weeks instead of months.”

Of the many technological advantages of the Virta platform, Mr Mommen and Mr Chang highlight the topical relevancy of data security and smart energy management features. The latter enables step-by-step optimisation of installation and grid-connection costs on the individual property level and makes it possible to take advantage of the local solar power resources.

On a local and national level, Virta energy management technologies ensure that the chargers are connected to the local grid, considering the grid limitations and hence securing electricity network stability. Virta patented bi-directional Vehicle-to-Grid technologies also give access to the future energy flexibility markets and new revenue streams for companies.

First partners announced in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand

Virta Southeast Asia and Australia regional headquarters is located in Singapore. First published contracts include partnerships with Thailand-based EVolt Technology Co., Ltd., Malaysian VSD Automation, Tetris Energy of Australia, and Singapore’s leading taxi fleet operator with over 12 000 taxis.

Read the original article published on virta.global.

Scalable EV charging solutions from Finland

Kempower is the new EV fast charging partner for Mer Norway

Mer, one of the leading charging point operators in Europe, has chosen Kempower as one of its new electric vehicles (EV) fast charging partners in Norway. Kempower and Mer Norway have signed a frame agreement on Kempower’s DC fast charging technology deliveries to Norway. Following Mer Norway’s ambition to provide sustainable electric mobility to everyone, they will establish charging stations with Kempower technology at scale.

The European charging company Mer has footprint in Norway, Sweden, UK, Germany and Austria. Owned by Statkraft, Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, the company has over a decade of experience within EV charging. Established as early as 2009, Mer Norway (formerly Grønn Kontakt) has been one of the leading charging operators in Norway – also known as the pioneering country for electric mobility. Within this time, Mer Norway has established over 300 fast charging stations across Norway.

– Our mission is to make sustainable electric mobility easy and accessible to everyone, and we have an ambitious build out programme in Norway in order to keep up with the strong EV adaptation. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we are happy to partner up with Kempower who clearly share the same vision as Mer, says Nicholai Sheridan Jørgensen, managing director of Mer Norway.

– We are extremely happy for the cooperation with Mer Norway. Kempower has recently gained a strong foothold on the Norwegian charging market, and we are looking forward to developing the charging experience further with Mer’s customers – the Norwegian EV drivers, says Tomi Ristimäki, CEO, Kempower.

For years, Norway has been the leader in electrifying cars: in 2021, two-thirds of new cars sold in Norway were electric.

Original news published on Kempower.com.

Wireless charging of EV’s is developed in Finland

DESTIA AND ELECTREON START COLLABORATION IN FINLAND

Destia, a leading provider of charging infrastructure services in Finland, and Electreon, an Israel-based wireless charging technology provider, will be showcasing wireless charging for electric vehicles in Vantaa, Finland. The companies will be testing the solution in preparation of potentially integrating Electreon’s technology into Destia’s electric charging solution.

The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and as part of the collaboration, the companies will first test the wireless charging solution by integrating Electreon’s wireless system to a commercial electric vehicle (EV). This will give fleet operators the opportunity to experience the benefits of the wireless charging in use.

Both companies see great potential for wireless charging and wireless electric road systems, that is roads that power electric vehicles, particularly for professional transport. Electric road system deployments can also help decrease emissions from the transport sector and create conditions for electric vehicle commercialisation.

“Wireless charging and roads and depots that power the cars driving on them have great potential especially for the professional transport segment. Wireless charging can improve efficiency by allowing for example trucks and vans to charge while loading or taxis to charge on the go as they move through taxi queues waiting for passengers. Testing the technology is a first step towards its adoption. As an EV charging service provider, we are eager to see how Electreon’s wireless charging technology can complement our electric charging service,” says Jere Jokinen, Head of EV Charging at Destia.

“We intend to enter the Finnish market through a collaboration with Destia. Combining Destia’s strength in charging infrastructure and services with Electreon’s seamless technology in both static and dynamic wireless charging will be a competitive solution for many operational businesses within the transportation segment,” says Maher Kasskawo, Business Development Manager, Electreon.

Later, the companies see an opportunity to move to commercial collaboration, where Electreon’s wireless charging system and related operation and maintenance services would be provided as part of Destia’s electric charging service.

Destia offers EV charging solutions for businesses and professional transport, its customers include bus operators, logistics companies, vehicle manufacturers and taxi companies. The end-to-end service consists of the electrical infrastructure, charging devices and their remote management as well as equipment maintenance.

Read the original news article on Destia.fi.

Awake.AI has launched Voyage Event API

The Finnish smart ports pioneer Awake.AI has launched a new service, Voyage Event API, that provides automated messages when vessels enter or exit user-defined areas.

The Event API service provides actual time event information and notifies about the vessel arrival times to various areas during port calls (e.g. pilot boarding places and berths). The service provides time references automatically and objectively. Thus can be used for examplein a statement of facts or records for billing.

The service enables personnel in various roles related to the port call to prepare in advance for the arrival of vessels of interest without continuous manual monitoring. Other use cases include monitoring traffic in reserved or hazardous areas. For example, areas close to a port can be temporarily or permanently reserved for dredging, sailing competitions, environmental restrictions, etc.

Read the original news on Awake.AI.

Espoo robot bus experiments pave the way for automated road transport

Robot buses that will slash public transport costs may cruise around the streets of Espoo among other traffic in about 2030, predicts a recent report on robot buses.

In autumn 2021, there were as many as three ongoing projects related to robot buses in Espoo. One of them was a service description of a robot bus service suitable for Espoo prepared by robot bus operator Roboride. “In Espoo, Matinkylä and Espoon keskus are highly potential areas for robot transport,” says Tatu Nieminen, CEO at Roboride.  Nieminen presented the project results in November 2021 at a robot bus seminar organised by the City of Espoo in Otaniemi.

Automation of public transport should be started in city centres and station feeder services. The launch of automated road transport in cities is held back by legislation and lack of service provision rather than technology.

“For short distances of less than 5 kilometres and at low urban speeds, we have mature technology. Main road and motorway speeds are technically much more challenging,” Nieminen says.

Robot buses were first seen on a test drive in the streets of Espoo already in 2019. A consultant report commissioned by the cities of Espoo and Turku from Sitowise Oy on the future of automated buses predicts that in 2030, technology will be advanced enough to allow automated buses to drive among other traffic in all circumstances. Around the same time, robot bus services will become increasingly common in cities to cover the last kilometre journey: taking passengers from public transport hubs to their front doors. “We can expect automated public transport to be fairly established by 2040,” the report states.

Drivers to abandon the wheel for the control room

Ramboll Finland Ltd examined how automated buses could improve the cost-efficiency of Espoo’s public transport. Their study focused on the areas of Perkkaa and Kauklahti. The Espoo bus fleet is currently rapidly becoming electrified. This reduces transportation costs. At the same time, drivers’ salaries are becoming a relatively larger expense.

For example, Ramboll examined bus line 203 from Uusmäki to Perkkaa via Leppävaara and discovered that the drivers’ salaries account for approximately half of the total annual costs of the bus line, which are approximately EUR 900,000.

Even robot buses will not move without any manpower at all. The work will just shift from the driver’s seat to the control room. “The cost-efficiency of automated transport depends largely on how many vehicles one control room operator is able to safely monitor at a time,” says Juho Björkman from Ramboll.

According to Ramboll’s calculations, the automation of the entire bus line 203 could generate annual savings of close to EUR 100,000 in comparison to the current situation. This despite the fact that automated buses are much more expensive than the current equipment.

“Vehicle prices will fall radically with mass production,” says Tatu Nieminen from Roboride.

Nieminen also points out that the robot bus lines currently operating around the world are still just small-scale experiments including a couple of vehicles at most. Cost savings will only be achieved when dozens or hundreds of robot buses will take to the streets.

With automated buses, public transport can be profitable even when there are only a few passengers.
“Improving the service level of evening and weekend transport can be done cost-efficiently as it will not require more staff,” Juho Björkman says.

Strategic selection

In her opening speech at the robot bus seminar, Mari Päätalo, City of Espoo Project Manager, explained why the city is particularly interested in automated transport.  The new Espoo strategy, adopted by the City Council in autumn 2021, outlines that the city will achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This goal requires excellent public transport, but at the same time, there is pressure to cut costs.

“Espoo spends approximately MEUR 100 on public transport annually. Automated public transport should be able to do better than our current public transport, and with smaller costs,” says Mari Päätalo.

In the future, automated public transport will be used to complement Espoo’s expanding rail network. Espoo’s core public transport network will consist of the metro, train and light rail line. The first and last kilometres of journeys will be covered by automated buses. This is the trend in many other European cities as well.

Read the original article on Espoo’s web page. Text by Petja Partanen.

VTT to develop the future of aviation

VTT joins the EU’s SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking as a founding member. The objective is to modernise and digitalise the use and management of European airspace and to enable innovations of the new generation of aviation, such as inspection and delivery drones, electric aircrafts and air taxis.

VTT has been invited to the public-private-partnership community, which consists of 60 leading European companies and research institutes, to develop aviation towards sustainability and agile scalability. Funded by the Horizon Europe programme and industry, the research and innovation partnership will enable new innovations by setting up development projects and experiments based on promising technical solutions and service concepts. The aim is also to define the architecture of aviation, rules of the game and principles for safe airspace usage, where both traditional aircrafts and unmanned autonomous drones are involved.

“Our goal is to develop an innovation environment of national and international importance for the new generation of air traffic. SESAR 3 offers a great environment for experimenting and developing innovations that are scalable in Europe”, explains VTT’s Principal Scientist for Aviation Solutions Timo Lind.

Air traffic is exceptionally important in Finland compared to many other European countries; the distances are long, the country is relatively sparsely populated, and the development of road or rail transport alone does not provide citizens with equal mobility opportunities. Low-emission aviation, electric solutions and digitalisation enable the development of sustainable and cost-effective aviation solutions and their integration into multimodal travel and transport chains. Finland has expertise and strong capabilities to be at the forefront of this transformation.

“The future of electronic aviation is being developed with ambition. Under VTT’s leadership, we can influence the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking. This is how we can expand the opportunities for Finns to participate in this changing field”, says Timo Harakka, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland.

Towards more efficient and cleaner aviation

Today’s challenges in air traffic are inefficiency, delay sensitivity to changes (weather, pandemics) and general unpredictability. These are caused by the national and mutually different airspace control structures, poor scalability of flight capacity, fixed flight paths, inadequacies in the exchange of information between operators and low level of automation in air traffic, among other things. Although COVID-19 has significantly reduced air traffic volumes momentarily, the importance of aviation in the logistics of people and goods is still on the increase. In addition to traditional air traffic, drones and electric air taxis are entering the sky. Safe and efficient airspace management requires development.

SESAR 3 develops a new generation of Digital European Sky architecture that addresses these challenges through digitalisation, open data platforms, digital situational awareness, artificial intelligence, analytics and standards.

“A new generation of aviation opens up new business opportunities for Finland. In March 2022, VTT, Business Finland and the Ministry of Transport and Communications will organise a seminar on the topic. We invite companies, universities and research institutes to join us in exploring opportunities for collaboration”, Lind says.

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

History of MaaS

How one man’s idea started a revolution in the mobility industry

The concept of mobility-as-a-Service was invented in Finland, and with the help of open-minded people ranging from politicians to various transport service providers and city officials the country provided a perfect test base for MaaS to develop and spread across the globe.

Mobility-as-a-Service is set to enable a whole new way for consuming transportation. Spotify did that to music and Airbnb enabled this for accommodation: turning ownership to service that one could pay for on the go. The mobility revolution however, is much bigger. The goal is to offer everyone the possibility to move whenever and wherever they want, door-to-door, without having to own a car, and therefore change how the world moves and eventually how physical communities are built.

The world’s first commercial operator, MaaS Global, was born in Finland, and with their award-winning Whim app, the company has set the pace for the global development of MaaS. The revolution didn’t start with one tech dream team working through one weekend to create a feasible MVP. The story of MaaS begins from understanding the Finnish telecom revolution, followed by years of cooperation between companies, public authorities, and decision-makers, deregulation, and shared vision.

Take a look at the detailed history of the idea that started a revolution in the mobility industry published by MaaS Global: History of MaaS – How one man’s idea started a revolution in the mobility industry. 

Telia and Skånetrafiken bring express payment to Scandinavia

Bus passengers, in the region of Skåne in southern Sweden, can now pay for their trip without using a physical ticket, cash or card. Together with Telia and the technology company Ridango, Skånetrafiken launches Express Mode for Apple Pay.

“We are proud to be part of Skånetrafiken’s ongoing efforts of innovating to make public transport easier, safer and more attractive to passengers. If we can encourage people to take the bus instead of the car, by making public transport easier, both carbon dioxide emissions and congestion in our cities will be reduced, says Björn Hansen, Head of IoT at Telia Divison X.

Express Mode for Apple Pay means Skånetrafiken’s customers can now use the “tap-and-go” payment method by simply holding their iPhone or Apple Watch to the ticket reader on the bus. The solution is a further development of “Blippa” – the first contactless payment service in the Nordic region. Customers with Apple Pay can access buses and pay without having to start or unlock the device, open an app or use Face ID or Touch ID. You don’t even need to validate with Face ID, Touch ID or your passcode. Travellers simply need to enable a payment card in Wallet that’s eligible for Express Mode.

The solution is another step forward in making it easier for people to choose public transport. Express payment enables faster boarding and less crowding, reduces hassle with money, cards or tickets and increases safety and security as passengers no longer need to open their bag or wallet to travel by public transport. Remarkably, customers can trust this payment method even when their device has run out of battery thanks to the “power reserve”*.

The idea is that if cities are to become easier to live and move around in and communities more sustainable, the alternative of public transport should be an easy choice.

“We are very happy to be the first in Scandinavia to launch Apple Pay’s Express Mode on our city buses. Together with our partners, we have worked intensively to make this possible and it is very fun to now see the result,” says Björn Pettersson, associate product owner at Skånetrafiken.

Kadri Haufe, Chief Commercial Officer at Ridango, says that the launch is a monumental step towards a seamless customer experience.

“This was the first Apple Pay’s Express Mode Apple Pay’s Express Mode implementation for Ridango, and we’re proud to have such an impact through technology. This is what the future of public transport is all about – providing new technology which makes it safe and effortless for the passengers to travel,” she says.

Facts:

Security and privacy are at the core of Apple Pay. When customers use a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element, an industry-standard, certified chip designed to store the payment information safely on the device.

Apple Pay is easy to set up. On iPhone, simply open the Wallet app, tap +, and follow the steps to add your credit or debit cards. Once a customer adds a card to iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac, they can start using Apple Pay on that device right away.

*On a compatible iPhone with the latest version of iOS, power reserve is available for up to five hours when your iPhone needs to be charged. You can use Express Mode cards with power reserve with iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR or later.

During a ticket control the traveler must have a functional mobile with battery.

Read the original article on Teliacompany.com.

Telia launches service for determining CO2 emissions from road passenger transport

Telia launches the service Travel Emission Insights, which makes it possible for municipalities and regions to determine CO2 emissions from road passenger transport. This in turn enables better-informed decisions about specific measures that can help reduce emissions.

The new service, Travel Emission Insights, which is launched in the Nordics and Baltics, gives municipalities insights about the number of people travelling, the type of vehicle, the routes used and the emission levels that the journey causes.

The service is based on anonymized and aggregated mobile network data from 16 million Telia subscribers in the Nordics and Baltics, representative of the population in each country (Crowd Insights*). From the data, one can determine, for example, movement patterns, the number of people in different locations and how crowds move. This data is then applied to the CERO model, a calculation model developed in 2007 at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, by Markus Robért. The model has been used since 2014 and today, it has been implemented by over 100 companies and authorities to develop financially sustainable strategies for achieving climate goals. The CERO model, in turn, is based on more than 300,000 travel-habit surveys assessing modes of travel and journey times, as well as on calculations for CO2 emissions. Hence, it can illustrate in figures the probability of people choosing different mode of transport people in given circumstances, as well as the level of CO2 emissions for each mode of transport.

Telia Travel Emission Insights combines Telia’s data with the CERO calculation model, which provides municipalities with information about which routes most people travel, which mode of transport they use and the levels of CO2 emissions that are generated – in all an important part of the efforts to achieve set climate goals. The data can be broken down into particular routes. Then, with simulation, it’s possible to compare and quantify different efforts to determine how the changes would affect the emission levels.

In Sweden, road passenger transport accounts for approximately a quarter of the total CO2 emissions and reducing travel by car and other road vehicles is therefore an important part of the efforts to achieve the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. During the pandemic, Swedish municipalities have seen a reduction in travelling by up to 30 percent, which has contributed to a an unprecedented reduction in the total amount of CO2 emissions. But as people are returning to a more normal life, travelling has increased yet again – and emissions are again on the rise.

“We believe that municipalities and regions will be able to take more effective measures if the decisions are based on clear data. With Travel Emission Insights, you can simulate and receive recommendations on which transport changes will have the greatest effect,” says Kristofer Ågren, Head of Data Insights at Telia.

Järfälla municipality in the northeast of Stockholm, with its 80,000 inhabitants, is first to use the service. Read more about this here.

Telia’s own sustainability goals are today thoroughly integrated into the Group’s overall strategy, and Telia works intensively to create better, more sustainable societies and services. For example, you can read about Telia’s focus area Climate & Circularity, and about how we support our customers in reducing their emissions.

Article originally published on Telia’s web page.

* In Telia Crowd Insights, all data is completely anonymized and aggregated to protect the personal integrity and privacy and can never be traced back to an individual. Analysis takes place solely on the level of crowd movement patterns, disconnected from individual and person.