The Helsinki Business Hub smart mobility team has been keeping busy this fall, not only in working the Helsinki mobility scene, but also in tracking latest mobility trends around the world. Here’s our notes for the rest of the year and going to 2018 on new trends, businesses and innovations from Paris Autonomy Urban Mobility Summit, Montreal ITS World Congress and developments right here in Helsinki:
Autonomous revolution & infrastructure for it
Overall the trend is now in making happen big promises from some years ago, especially around infra needed for autonomous driving: mapping, localisation and open data, meaning convergence of V2V (vehicle to vehicle), V2I (vehicle to infrastructure), V2P (vehicle to person) under a V2X (vehicle to cloud) platform.
An example of this is MIT’s Persuasive Electric Vehicle (PEV) – An Alternative Autonomous Revolution from the Bike Lane project. The PEV’s are low-cost, agile, shared-use autonomous bikes that aim to solve the “last-mile” urban mobility challenges of passengers as well as delivery of packages. Attention grabbing features of the project include e.g. the developments in human-machine interaction or “urban tattoos” in guiding the autonomous vehicles without maintenance-heavy infrastructure. Actually, the infrastructure part is where the Helsinki region is involved too – Aalto University has partnered with MIT to develop the MIT CityScope platform for urban analysis, efficient resource utilization, and spatial programming for campus development, using Otaniemi as a testbed.
More trials are to happen in different parts of the world as operational models are still unclear, but one thing that everybody agrees on is that it won’t happen without collaboration between all the layers. The role of the cities in planning future infrastructure is also crucial if they want to stay in the game.
MaaS still rules, first/last mile solutions emerge
MaaS is as always one of the key elements to reach smart mobility goals like CO2 emissions reduction and congestion, even if its operational model – fully open model or more organized platform centric model – is still under debate as to which the most efficient and sustainable. But the overall buzz around MaaS is now finally turning into more actions than talk, especially in first and last mile through transit solutions. For instance, we can see more and more pilots appearing in different parts of the world around last mile autonomous driving solutions or on demand shared mobility solutions with buses. They again involve diverse kind of technology solutions to be converged around mapping, sensors for movement detection, satellite and laser imaging.
And while talking about these first/last mile innovations – the two-wheeled micromobility solutions for urban mobility definitely took the main stage at Autonomy. Whether it’s new city bike systems, kick scooters, electric bikes, gyropods or even electric unicycles – the bike lanes of the future will surely be filled with more and more innovative vehicles.
Finland is riding (& creating) the mobility trend waves
MaaS, automation, shared mobility, connectivity and electrification. The trends outlined in McKinsey report, Integrated Perspective on the Future of Mobility, still seems to dominate the discussions and variety in innovation & business. In global comparison, Finland has a very interesting ecosystem and legislation to see things happen especially in autonomous driving testing (even in hard conditions) with innovations such as Sensible4’s self-driving systems, MaaS with companies like MaaS Global and Kyyti (Tuup) and autonomous last mile project Sohjoa as well as Aurora, the arctic intelligent transport ecosystem, worlds first 5G test networks and 5G Finland partnership initiative and the comprehensive public open data of Helsinki Region Infoshare.
So we’re seeing plenty of good mobility developments going on around the world, but we’re also proud to say that a lot of the forefront action is happening in right here in Helsinki. If your interested in these opportunities, give us a call and we’ll get you connected!