A new Research Alliance for Autonomous Systems (RAAS) has been launched by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology and eight other universities and universities of applied sciences. RAAS aims to develop a leading R&D environment to accelerate the development of automated solutions for sea and land transport, aviation and non-road machinery, as well as draw foreign direct investment.
Finland is home to technological excellence with world-leading experience in the development of autonomous transport and logistics. Business opportunities have already been identified for solutions with varying levels of autonomy, for example, in the Finnish marine industry where development has taken off quickly thanks to the One Sea business ecosystem. Finland has a solid history in the R&D of world-leading autonomous solutions in non-road machinery for the mining, ports and forest sectors. Finland’s automotive industry and transport service companies have also demonstrated their ability to innovate.
”Cooperation and cross-learning between different domains is very important in the development of autonomous transport”, says Sauli Eloranta from Rolls-Royce – one of the leading figures in maritime transport.
For several decades, Finnish research organisations have been systematically developing high-level automation solutions as well as their own expertise in domestic and international research projects. RAAS is bringing together leading research teams and expertise in various fields to form joint national areas of strength.
"To facilitate business-oriented innovation, we are bringing together the latest scientific knowledge, jointly creating new know-how and developing agile operating models around testbeds," says Pauli Kuosmanen, Dean at Tampere University of Technology.
“Autonomous systems are one of Finland’s national strengths in the digitalisation and innovation activities of the export industry, says Kalle Kantola, Vice President, Research at VTT. "However, international competition is fierce. The RAAS alliance will introduce synergies among different application and technology areas, which will markedly accelerate development. At the same time, our research teams can develop their expertise as they confront increasingly challenging problems."
The alliance provides companies an easy access to world-class scientific knowledge and expertise in the field of autonomous transport and logistics solutions. This is organised around ten research task forces focusing on themes, such as the ethics of autonomous systems, regulations, business, artificial intelligence and operational level.
“The alliance also provides access to research and development services for international networks of experts. We are actively seeking international research teams to join the alliance," says Gary Marquis, Dean at Aalto University.
“For an international company, it is important that through RAAS we gain easy access to the best research teams both nationally and internationally," says Jani Vilenius, Director of Research and Technology Development at Sandvik.
The following research organisations belong to the RAAS alliance:
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, and the University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Turku University of Applied Sciences, University of Oulu, University of Turku, Novia University of Applied Sciences and Åbo Akademi University.