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Finland’s 5G plans: ‘We want to build world’s smartest road’

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Finland testing AI assistant to help citizens navigate the public administration
People in Finland are being shown the public and private services that could benefit them most in an ambitious AI trial.

Finnish businesses and local government have a bold plan. They want to build the smartest road in the world.

It will use 5G technology and cover a 31km (19-mile) stretch of Route 51, between the towns of Siuntio and Karjaa in Inkoo municipality, 54km (34 miles) west of Helsinki on the south coast of Finland.

Must read: Smart Cities Special Feature | Industrial IoT Special Feature

The municipality will be working in partnership with Karis Telefon and TammisaarenEnergia, with Nokia providing the 5G technology in the form of smart light poles.

Developed as part of its LuxTurrim5G project, each LED-light pole can be equipped with base stations and antennas that function together to create a 5G network. The proposed smart road will have a total of 620 such light poles, although they will only be connected to the network in stages.

Also: Download the report as a PDF TechRepublic

Robert Nyman, the mayor of Inkoo, is keen to stress that the project is still in its infancy, and they “don’t yet have a concrete plan” for its implementation. This vagueness is partly because it is the state — rather than the municipality — that will make the final decision on the main road’s future development.

It is also because there is no funding yet in place for the project, although Nyman estimates that the basic infrastructure would cost only €2m ($2.26m). One promising source of financial support is Business Finland, whose Smart Mobility fund for Finnish businesses transforming the transport sector totals €50m ($57m).

If the project gets the green light, the digitalized main road will allow for the testing of self-driving cars through the Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything platform (C-V2X) installed in the light poles.

Also: Tech and the future of transportation  

This technology keeps automated vehicles updated on the road’s traffic flows and driving conditions, while their communications system and sensors would be able to connect to those of other vehicles and infrastructure to ensure a safe passage along the smart road.

Much of the information and functionality of C-V2X will, of course, help human drivers travel more safely, too.

Improving safety is particularly important for Route 51. As one of the main arteries from Helsinki to the west, it falls into the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s highest category for accident density.

The proposed smart road is also a hotspot for moose collisions. Between 2012 and 2015, there was an average of 17 collisions — and one fatality — a year. With the introduction of 5G technology, big-animal alerts would warn road users of the creatures’ presence, thereby reducing moose-human incidents.

While Route 51 remains a future project, other smart-road tests in Finland are either ongoing or on the more-immediate horizon.


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Most closely connected to Route 51 is the LuxTurrim5G project’s planned three-month trial of its smart light poles this summer. They will be used to support a self-driving bus service on the 1km route between Kera train station and Nokia’s head office. This would be the first 5G smart road in Finland.

The light poles will have to be erected at 50-meter (164ft) intervals due to the high frequency and limited signal strength of the 5G small cells they contain.

Nokia reckons this method of network provision is the most viable solution for digital cities, since a fast-growing number of digital services would soon overload 5G mobile networks operating at frequencies lower than 6GHz.

Finland’s first smart road was established back in November 2017, when a 10km stretch of Route 21 was equipped with sensors and designated the Aurora public test ecosystem.

Also: The new commute: How driverless cars, hyperloop, and drones will change our travel plans TechRepublic | Download the PDF version

This road is located in the very north of Finland, in Muonio, near the border with Norway. On the Norwegian side, there is a sister stretch of smart road, the Borealis to Finland’s Aurora.

As with much cutting-edge technology, Finland is presented in this context as an uncommonly accommodating hostile environment.

The country’s legislation already permits the presence of self-driving cars on public roads, but its climate also challenges their nascent technology with snow, ice and freezing temperatures.

Also: Here’s how C-V2X can change driving, smart cities

Despite these adverse conditions, the smart road has witnessed some notable successes in the first year or so of its operation.

According to Reija Viinanen, director of Aurora Collaboration: “Sensible 4 and VTT Martti have tested snowtonomous-driving technology on the intelligent road. They have tackled freezing fog, freezing temperatures and extreme conditions, while car makers and technology companies are struggling with rain in California.”

Following restructuring of Finland’s traffic and transport organizations at the turn of the year, there is now discussion about Aurora becoming a private company, although Viinanen stresses that its testing operations are continuing unabated.

More on smart cities:

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Previous and related coverage:

Self-driving cars: This robot driver cruises through snow and ice 

Finnish researchers have been testing a winter-proof autonomous car on public roads.

Smart roads: How intelligent surfaces can warn you of hazards round next bend

A Norwegian research project is testing how to use fiber optics to listen to the traffic on a road.

Meet Aurora: Finland’s AI assistant aims to give each citizen tailored advice

People in Finland are being shown the public and private services that could benefit them most in an ambitious AI trial.

Autonomous buses, cars, drones: Norway’s Telenor readies its big 5G pilot

When Telenor’s 5G pilot begins near Oslo later this year, it will be putting a string of applications to real-life testing.

Alphabet’s Wing to take off in Finland

The autonomous drone delivery service is launching in the Helsinki area in spring of 2019.

Calling all drone pilots: Why Finland’s military is turning to civilian fliers for help

With an 830-mile border with Russia and as Europe’s most forested country, it’s understandable that Finland’s interest in drone tech is growing fast.

Smaller, cheaper: How these tiny satellites are spinning off new space data movement

Finnish microsatellite maker ICEYE is part of a wave of startups providing Earth data to business and governments.

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iPhone 14 May Debut In An Online-Only Event With Pro Price Hike

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The iPhone 14 will bring plenty of changes this year, but most of them are apparently being reserved for the Pro models. The base models are also expected to feature a big change, but not one that some people will like — Apple may finally say goodbye to the 5.4-inch iPhone mini and go in the opposite direction by introducing a non-Pro iPhone Max. While that would be a tragedy for those who love small iPhones, it would also consolidate Apple’s smartphone collection and make it easier for buyers to understand what’s available.

The next-generation iPhone lineup will reportedly have two 6.1-inch models and two 6.7-inch models split between base and Pro lines. While there will be some upgrades across the board, the biggest changes will no doubt be seen on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The most visible will be — at least according to the rumors so far — the switch to a pill-shaped cutout, which would mean finally ditching the bucket notch that debuted with the iPhone X in 2017. New and improved cameras will likely be found inside the iPhone 14 Pro models, too, as well as a faster processor.

These upgrades won’t come without costs, however, and Apple may have buyers shoulder some of that. An investor note shared by Philip Elmer-DeWitt claims the Pro models will experience a $100 price increase. The current iPhone 13 Pro already starts at $999 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max begins at $1,099, so that would be quite a significant price hike. Apple is also expected to increase the storage in these iPhone models to make those figures easier to swallow, but it may still cause some interested buyers to pause when deciding which of the four iPhone 14 models to pick.

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Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept Teases Electric Muscle Cars To Come

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Three patented new features help give the Daytona SRT an edge. The e-Rupt multi-speed transmission system offers an “electro-mechanical shifting experience that’s pure Dodge,” the automaker says. The new transmission has a PowerShot boost system similar to the one included in the hybrid versions of the upcoming Dodge Hornet. Press a button on the steering wheel and you’ll get a bit of extra horsepower and some torque along with it — it’s for those occasions when you need to power past something on a highway, or if you need to take off from a standing start fast enough to tear a small hole in the fabric of time and space.

There’s a new aerodynamic pass-through feature named the “R-Wing” that gives the concept a performance edge while connecting it with its NASCAR record-breaking ancestor. Then, for muscle car enthusiasts who are upset the switch to electric may preserve someone in their vicinity’s eardrums, there’s the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. It’s an industry first, and as loud as a Hellcat at 127 decibels, so even though you’re being powered by a battery, people will still hear your muscle car coming. The system is a patented industry-first feature. Sound is produced electronically before being forced through an amplifier and “tuning chamber.” It is then blasted out of the car’s back end, recreating the muscle car audio experience without any of the emissions.

The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT is just a concept, so while you may be impressed by the noise both Dodge and its car are making, you won’t actually be able to buy one. However, there’s a good chance most — if not all — of its features will appear in Dodge’s first commercially released EV, which is scheduled to arrive in 2024.

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The Reason Why Lamborghini Will Never Build A Manual Transmission Car Again

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By January 2014, very few Gallardos were ordered with a manual gearbox — so few, in fact, that AutoGuide quoted company CEO Stephan Winkelmann as saying that the automaker’s team would have to double-check with the dealership from which the order was received to make sure the manual transmission request wasn’t an error.

Besides the lack of demand for cars with a manual transmission, Lamborghini’s advanced driving tech starting with the Huracán also warranted complete control over the vehicle, and the manual use of a clutch could potentially cause disharmony. In 2016, Reggiani said in an interview with Road & Track that engaging the clutch “creates a hole in the communication between what the engine is able to provide and how the car reacts to the power of the engine.”

The executive also said during the interview that even though the decision to drop the manual transmission option wasn’t easy, the automatic chassis control systems on newer Lambos meant there wasn’t really any other option. “If you want to control the power, the clutch must be under the control of the brain of the car, not your brain,” Reggiani said.

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