May 6, 2020
DAILY BRIEF: Autonomous driving, hurricane prediction, finance, edible insects and bio materials
Sensible 4's software makes it possible for self-driving vehicles to operate in any weather conditions. Next up are Toyota cars in Oslo.
All the daily Finnish business news that works: Hurricane Unwinder, Silo AI, Stora Enso, Entis, Verso Capital and Sensible 4 make headlines.
Hurricane Unwinder and Silo AI predict hurricanes, Stora Enso develops bio-based carbon fibre materials, Entis delivers insect-based foods to shelves in Europe, Verso Capital launches a new 100 million-euro fund, Sensible 4 pilots self-driving technology, and a coronavirus tracking app is trialled in Finland.
Finnish company Silo.AI and Hurricane Unwinder, a spin-off from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, have collaborated to develop a computer vision-based AI solution that is able to predict hurricane intensity at world-class accuracy. The solution leverages high-resolution satellite images and parameters such as sea water temperature and weather forecasts to predict tropical cyclones in the coastal areas of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. It is currently capable of predicting the intensity of hurricanes 24 hours in advance, and the goal is to increase the warning time to 96 hours. The solution was the winner of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth observation competition, Copernicus Masters, in 2018.
Stora Enso and German company Cordenka have partnered to develop precursors for bio-based carbon fibre materials for industrial application. Stora Enso has been developing technology for producing carbon fibre from cellulose and lignin, wood-based raw materials that have the potential to replace oil-based raw materials. The aim is now to take the innovation from the laboratory to pilot-scale operation at Cordenka’s production site in Obernburg, Germany. The collaboration is driven by the need for sustainable and high-performance carbon fibre in transportation, construction and power generation.
Finnish company Entis’s protein snacks and cricket chocolates will be introduced to German retail chain Kaufland’s shops in Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Croatia. Insects are a rich source of protein and nutrients, and their farming has a drastically reduced impact on the environment compared with meat production. The Finnish company has so far developed four different insect-based product families, and two of them will now reach a potential market of over 60 million consumers. Entis has recently also secured seed funding from Maki.vc, which it will use to further accelerate international growth.
Finnish growth-stage buyout investor Venture Capital has launched a new 100 million-euro sector-agnostic fund that will acquire businesses that are not living up to their full growth potential under current ownership. Examples of such situations are so-called carve-outs from larger corporations and the rearrangements of joint ventures. The first investors in Verso Fund III are KRR III, Tesi, pension funds Ilmarinen, Varma and Elo, as well as Nokia, Valeado AB and Etrisk, with a total capital commitment of 66 million euros. Fundraising towards the target size of 100 million euros will continue throughout 2020.
Finnish startup Sensible 4 is providing a full stack of autonomous driving software for self-driving vehicle trials in Norway, following a newly signed contract with Toyota Motor Europe, Oslo’s public transport authority, Ruter, and Danish mobility company Holo. In the trials, Toyota vehicles will be retrofitted with Sensible 4’s autonomous driving software capable of operating in all weather conditions, and the aim is to launch a new self-driving transport service in Nordre Follo, a municipality in the greater Oslo area, this autumn. The Finnish startup’s autonomous shuttle bus, GACHA, is already being piloted in Helsinki and heading to Dubai in the autumn.
Vaasa Central Hospital will begin trials for Ketju, a Finnish app designed to help healthcare professionals identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus. Read more about it in our breaking news article by clicking the link in the headline.
TOPIAS DEAN / SITRA
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