Finland aiming to lead the development of autonomous systems
Autonomous systems are revolutionising transport and logistics, and will make them even more efficient and safe in the future while also lowering emissions. New solutions and services, along with the data collected through them, will generate business opportunities in a variety of applications.
There are already some strong Finnish research organisations and companies operating in the field of autonomous systems. Finnish companies represent the global state of the art in the development of marine transport, automated ports and mobile machinery. Keeping the top spot in a rapidly changing market nevertheless requires the safeguarding of national expertise, cross-border cooperation and the ability to leverage quickly developing technologies.
The RAAS (Research Alliance for Autonomous Systems) innovation ecosystem is intended to bring key research organisations and other actors together for the development of new, cross-sector solutions. The ecosystem’s goals are expediting the development of systems with a high level of automation and rejuvenating innovation activities in the field. This will be crucial since, according to a Europe-wide study, up to 96% of innovations are created in ecosystems.
“There are technical, operational issues and business challenges to overcome in the development of autonomous systems, but we also need to resolve a number of questions related to legislation, regulations and social acceptance,” said RAAS Coordinator Hannu Karvonen. “An innovation ecosystem like RAAS will let us tackle broad, systemic challenges.”
The ecosystem’s focus areas will include land transport, marine and port operations, mobile machinery and drones. These application areas share many features in common and make use of the same technologies. Cooperation will generate synergy benefits and support mutual learning between industries.
“The initiative for RAAS came from the industry,” said VTT Co-Creation Manager Ismo Vessonen. “The availability of a one-stop-shop innovation ecosystem will help companies find solutions to concrete challenges more efficiently. It also gives companies a great opportunity to influence the direction of research in the field.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland has given a government grant for the full launch of the innovation ecosystem by the autumn of 2020. The research organisations participating in the RAAS project will also fund a portion of the operation’s costs.
The launch partners of the RAAS project are the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University, Tampere University, University of Helsinki, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, University of Oulu, Turku University of Applied Sciences, University of Turku, Yrkeshögskolan Novia and Åbo Akademi.
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