What does a business ecosystem with moving platforms transporting service robots around town to perform circular economy tasks look like? The ‘AutoMod – Autonomous Modulars’ (autonomous modular solutions) project (AutoMod project) will examine how this transportation platform would operate and what type of robots would work on the platform.
The objective of the AutoMod project is to create a new kind of business ecosystem, where service robots transported on moving platforms solve circular economy challenges in smart cities. In the future, the AutoMod ecosystem can cover the Uusimaa area and all of Finland and serve many other branches, in addition to circular economy.
In the project, the implementers are in charge of the development of the autonomous platform and companies are in charge of innovating and implementing the modules planned for the platforms, i.e. robots. Innovation competitions and workshops will be used to brainstorm and co-create innovative robotics for the platform to transport.
The implementers of the project will offer practical advice on connecting the modules to the platform and ensure that the entity becomes functional. Dedicated premises will be available for testing and assembly.
Competence and expertise in mobility, robotics and circular economy are used as background information. These skills have been amassed in robot bus projects, service pilots carried out with drones, last mile logistics pilots and projects connected to the digitalisation of circular economy.
Modules to be developed
The modules intended for the transportation platform are a form of ‘service robotics’, meaning that they can perform labour-intensive tasks, provide service guidance or promote recycling and re-use in a novel way.
The modules will be standardised in terms of connections and size, allowing for centralised development efforts and production scalability going forward. This means that each company may focus on the functions of their own module.
The same standardised module attachment method can be offered widely to all interested parties. In the first phase, companies can pitch their ideas on a draft and modelling level. The most promising solutions will be selected for the pilot phase and implemented as genuine test solutions with the help of the project partners.
In addition to the modules and the platform, the small-scale progression model of the project will facilitate flexible testing and development of project ideas towards an ecosystem-like operation. In the future, we will be moving on to large-scale projects with larger platforms than before, branching out into to more fields.
The project will produce more efficient circular economy services with the help of automation, as well as new business opportunities for companies.
Cities and residents will benefit from developing circular economy services, and companies will be able to tap into new business opportunities.
Because the AutoMod project develops individual modules, there will be a low threshold for new operators to join. We welcome companies and interest groups with an open mind and we will not shy away from thinking outside the box.
The circular economy branch will be able to gain new operators in the field of robotics and digitalisation thanks to the ideas presented in the AutoMod project. The results of the project are primarily open to allow as many business partners as possible to utilise them.
In addition to this, we aim to detect bottle necks that prevent the spread of new kinds of circular economy robotics in urban environments and on a national scale. The open sharing of these findings will help the authorities to understand what kind of changes must be made in regulation, permit practices and guidance to allow for development in the field of robotics.
Benefits for Helsinki
The project offers many benefits for the City of Helsinki. AutoMod aims to find new solutions to circular economy development areas collected previously. Use cases also demonstrate how autonomous mobility and service robotics benefit the City in offering services.
It is also important from the point of view of the City to offer testing opportunities for new innovations and opportunities for the development of new cooperation and business networks as well as provide concrete guidance, help and growth training for companies.
Duration, partners and funding
- Duration: the project will run from 2021 to 2023
- Partners: Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the City of Espoo
- Sponsors: European Regional Development Fund (the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council in Finland), matching funds from the City of Helsinki
- Total budget: 681,716 euros
The role of Forum Virium Helsinki
Forum Virium Helsinki coordinates the AutoMod project and is in charge of promoting the spirit of the project as far as partners and interest groups are concerned. Forum Virium will also be increasing its own expertise in autonomous service robotics during the project. The objective is to innovate and create with an open mind.
Image: Jussi Hellsten/Helsinki Marketing