Five for Friday: Autonomous vehicles
The road is open ahead for Finnish innovations that are contributing to the development of unmanned cars here and abroad.
For this week’s Five for Friday, strap yourself in as we put the foot to the floor for Finnish expertise in the driverless movement.
Self-driving cars may happily cruise along when the weather is fair, but add leaves or snow to the mix and someone better take hold of the steering wheel!
Finnish startup Sensible 4 and Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI are together launching an autonomous shuttle bus capable of operating in all weather conditions.
“We are developing these vehicles so that they can become part of the daily transport service chain,” said Sensible 4 CEO Harri Santamala. “Autonomous vehicles can’t become mainstream until their technology is guaranteed to work in all climates.”
Any article about innovation in Finland simply must include a mention of the great work being done by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Back in 2017, we reported that the automated cars developed by VTT, Marilyn and Martti, have been road tested and are exchanging information with each other.
“Today, the automation of traffic is generally speaking just taking its first steps – the big things will not come until 2021 and later,” project manager Matti Kutila pointed out.
If there’s one thing that Finns discuss more than anything else, it is the weather. Given the temperamental nature of Mother Nature up this way, this is perfectly understandable. Thus, it’s unsurprising that German conglomerate Bosch turned to Finnish weather service Foreca for help in developing predictive road-condition services for automated vehicles.
“Wet roads, snow, ice – with our predictive road-condition services we alert to hazards before critical situations can develop,” said Bosch’s Dirk Hoheisel. “We are helped here by the weather data provided by our partner Foreca. This means an automated vehicle will know exactly where it can drive autonomously, and how.”
Late last year, Peugeot selected Finnish software company Qt’s digital development platform for the digital cockpit of its new concept car, e-Legend. The car’s exteriors are inspired by the Peugeot 504 coupé, but beneath the classic surface hides a fully digital core that features an autonomous driving mode and a 340kW electric drivetrain.
“As the cars of tomorrow evolve to adapt to the digital era of today, the driver experience must follow suit,” informed Qt’s Tero Marjamäki. “With Qt’s technology, Peugeot ensures the digital cockpit in the driver’s seat is as advanced as the technology under the hood, setting the stage for the driving experience of the future.”
Did we already mention the prevalence of snow, ice and long winters in Finland? Well, there’s more! With over 160 days a year of guaranteed winter weather in the city of Oulu, researchers found their ideal testing ground for harnessing next-generation 5G mobile technology to power a unique Arctic research and test centre for autonomous vehicles and machinery.
Multiple partners came together for the project, including the University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and VTT (again!), together proving once again one of Finland’s other big pluses.
“Collaboration between many different organisations is a real strength in Finland,” explained Rauno Heikkilä, professor at the University of Oulu.
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