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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.

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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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2021 Hennessey Venom 800 Ford F-150 hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds

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Many Ford fans are looking forward to the 2021 F-150 pickup. The truck is all-new, and the tuners at Hennessey have a special edition for truck buyers wanting sports car performance in their truck. The company says that the Hennessey Venom 800 Supercharged is the most powerful Ford truck it has ever produced.

The Venom 800 Supercharged is also one of the most exclusive Ford trucks the company has ever produced, with only 100 offered for the entire year. Thanks to a supercharger strapped on the 5.0-liter V-8 engine, the truck has 805 BHP and can reach 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The turnkey vehicle starts with the 2021 Ford F-150 Platinum Super Crew four-door pickup.

The 5.0-liter V-8 is backed with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and the truck has four-wheel drive. Upgrades to the truck include an updated fuel pump system, stainless steel exhaust, E 85 flex-fuel sensor, and engine calibration performed on at chassis dyno. The supercharger and tuning double the stock V8 horsepower rating of 400 BHP.

When Hennessey is done, the F-150 has 805 BHP at 6200 RPM and 727 pound-foot of torque at 4100 RPM on E85. Hennessey brags that that is almost 100 horsepower more than the 2021 Ram TRX. The truck is capable of running the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds at 116 mph.

It also gets an updated BREMBO brake system with six-piston calipers and 15.1-inch rotors to slow the monster down. Wheels are 20-inch custom units with 35-inch all-terrain tires. The truck also gets an off-road suspension system with upgraded shocks and external reservoirs supporting a six-inch lift. The front bumper is upgraded along with the grill, and the truck gets new badges. Pricing for the vehicle is $149,500 plus delivery, including the donor pickup.

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Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne: New hyper EV promises more of everything

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Spanish coachbuilder and EV maker Hispano Suiza has announced the arrival of its newest Carmen-based hyper-luxury EV: Carmen Boulogne. From afar, the Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne shares particular design cues with Bugatti’s Chiron supercar.

However, there’s no mistaking those curvaceous rear fenders, a stiff salute to the brand’s pre-war racing cars. According to Hispano Suiza, the Boulogne name dates back to 1921 when the company built a racing version of its H6 Coupe, where it scored three consecutive victories in the George Boilot Cup from 1921 to 1923.

So yes, the newest Carmen Boulogne hyper EV has some racing heritage to its credit. But like the Bugatti Chiron, Hispano Suiza’s latest creation is a proper grand tourer with impressive performance and a welcome dose of luxury.

Similar to a standard Carmen, the Boulogne has two permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors on each rear wheel. However, those four motors are tuned to squeeze out 1,100 horsepower, 95 more horses than a regular Carmen hyper EV. Meanwhile, the torque rating is at a mind-blowing 1,180 pound-feet, accessible from zero to 6,500 rpm.

And whereas Carmen has a top speed of 155 mph (250 kph), Boulogne has longer legs and can reach a maximum speed of 180 mph (290 kph). The sleek and lightweight carbon-fiber body enables Carmen Boulogne to weigh 132 pounds (60 kgs) less than a base Carmen, allowing it to rush from zero to 60 mph in 2.6-seconds.

Having four electric motors in the rear (and a thousand foot-pounds of torque) might sound like a recipe for disaster, but it’s not. Carmen Boulogne has sophisticated torque-vectoring to prevent you from wrapping it to a tree.

Powering those four motors is an 80 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, good for around 248 miles of effective range. Carmen Boulogne can fast-charge at up to 80 kW DC to replenish the batteries in 30 minutes when the juice runs out.

Hispano Suiza is only building 14 units of the standard Carmen, while only five Boulogne models are slated for production, making it more exclusive than a Pininfarina Battista or Lotus Evija.

If you like Carmen Boulogne, prepare your checkbook as base prices start from $2-million (€1.65 million) at current exchange rates. Each of the five cars will take twelve months to build, and the first delivery will happen in 2022.

Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne Gallery

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2021 Audi R8 RWD Panther Edition has red wheels and a stealthy vibe

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Audi of America has something in store for early reservists of the 2021 R8 RWD sports car. Unique to the North American market and limited to only 30 units, the R8 Panther edition will be the first rear-wheel-drive R8 models to arrive at dealerships this December.

We’ll get to those red wheels in a minute since the 2021 R8 RWD Panther Edition is brimming with likable details, like that Panther Black paint, for example. It has a deep, glossy black finish from afar, but the paint hue transitions from black to deep purple upon closer inspection.

No, we’re not fans of chameleon paint jobs, either, but Audi’s Panther Black paint is a sight to behold. We first saw this bedazzling finish at the 2019 L.A. Auto Show in an Audi RS 5 Panther Edition, but we never thought it’d look so good in the 2021 Audi R8.

Complementing its new Panther Black paint are a bevy of carbon-fiber exterior trim, including the mirror caps, side intakes, and the rear engine cover. Blacked-out Audi badges are standard, too, while 20-inch double-spoke matte black wheels complete the sinister vibe.

And as you can see, those gorgeous wheels have bright red accents. Love it or hate it, those red wheels are here to stay, but standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires will somehow ease the pain.

Meanwhile, the interior is black-and-red like the exterior. Crimson Red leather seats are standard, while the rest of the cabin is covered in black leather with red stitching. On the other hand, the steering wheel, gear shifter, and headliner are swathed in fine Alcantara.

The 2021 Audi R8 RWD Panther Edition remains motivated by a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine, good for 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet torque. With this engine, the RS RWD can sprint to 60 mph in 3.6-seconds, while the top speed is at 201 mph.

Additionally, all R8 Panther Edition models get standard sports exhausts along with LED headlights and taillights, dynamic turn signals, illuminated door sills, and a 550-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system with 13 speakers.

Audi said its 2021 R8 Panther Edition will arrive at U.S. dealerships this month. Base prices start at around $183,000 before taxes and destination.

2021 Audi R8 RWD Panther Edition Gallery

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