Tuup together with Vinka and Sohjoa project are planning to start a demand responsive robot bus service in Finland during 2017. Tuup will provide the service to the public through its travel planning application available already now in several parts of Finland. Vinka will develop the automatic demand responsive ride sharing and fleet management intelligence and Sohjoa will provide the piloting platform.
Sohjoa project is part of the Six City Strategy (6Aika) fuelled by European Structural Fund and the six largest cities in Finland. The project tests operating automated vehicles in Finland and is coordinated by Metropolia University of applied sciences.
Piloting will take place during the spring of 2017 in Tampere and later the same year in the Helsinki region. The goal of Tuup and Vinka is to participate in creation of first commercial service shortly after the piloting.
“I see the future of transportation in efficient high volume mass transportation services fed by fleets of demand responsive robot busses” says Pekka Möttö, the CEO of Tuup. Möttö confesses that if asked only a few years ago he would have considered autonomous vehicles as science fiction, but has changed his mind since: “We already have the capability to create intelligent, personalized and efficient demand responsive transport services, we already have autonomous vehicles and we have the knowledge to connect the dots. I have no doubt that the team we have for the job would not deliver and I am extremely happy and excited to be able to take part in piloting the next generation of mobility services among the first in the world” Möttö adds.
When asked, Möttö does admit that there is still work to be done before autonomous vehicles can handle for example the harsh Finnish winter months but he sees only technological barriers and thus nothing that would not be overcome in the near future: “The speed that technology has advanced has stunned me and I think I’m going to be pleasantly surprised also in the future. I’m glad that we could find our partners from Finland. With this team we are sure to be first where ever we go” Möttö concludes.
Peitsa Turvanen, CEO of Vinka sees that demand responsive transport services are a growing trend: “People want more services and they want more personalised services. Vinka’s talent is in creating the technology for demand responsive shared ride services and thus enabling the new ways of moving people and goods to meet the changing demand. And the best part is that we can automate it all”. Turvanen shares Möttö’s vision of the importance of autonomous busses in future transportation services. When asked about the pilot he dodges the question: “I prefer to plan for the commercial service, it sets the bar high enough from the beginning.”
”The purpose of the automated bus project was to attract Finnish companies to take that first step towards automation and to build permanent development activities and businesses in the field. We have rare opportunity enabled by legal interpretation to be part of the pioneers in making commercial operations in the big mobility disruption which automation will cause.” Project manager of SOHJOA-project Harri Santamala says. Santamala tells that this is exactly what he promised to achieve within 2 year project, but he also is surprised how fast and positively the Finnish companies and cities have reacted to the opportunity. “We will keep on supporting exactly this kind of activities through strong national co-operation” Santamala adds.
Pekka Möttö, CEO, Tuup. firstname.lastname@example.org, +358449742477
Peitsa Turvanen, CEO, Vinka. email@example.com, +358505445256
Harri Santamala, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org +35840341516