Finland has seen the future, and it is ... autonomous. With the global market for autonomous systems expected to reach an estimated $86 billion (76 billion euros) by 2025, the country is making an aggressive bid to become a leading player in the development of robotic solutions, including systems for cargo transport.
In January, Finland announced the launch of the Research Alliance for Autonomous Systems (RAAS), an "innovation ecosystem" for autonomous system development. RAAS organizers say areas of focus include developing systems for land transport, marine and port operations, and drones. "Autonomous systems are revolutionizing transport and logistics, and will make them even more efficient and safe in the future, while also lowering emissions," the alliance said in a release.
Scheduled for a full launch in the autumn of 2020, RAAS could also generate new business opportunities in solutions and services involving the data collected through these new platforms, the group says. Support for the effort has come through a government grant from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.
The alliance will bring together businesses, key research organizations, and other players with the aim of developing new cross-sector solutions. "There are technical [issues], operational issues, and business challenges to overcome in the development of autonomous systems, but we also need to resolve a number of questions related to legislation, regulations, and social acceptance," RAAS coordinator Hannu Karvonen said in the release. "An innovation ecosystem like RAAS will let us tackle broad, systemic challenges."