Norway “the land of the midnight sun” is best known for its beautiful landscapes, its Viking heritage and now it is Smart Mobility. It is well known that Norway is now all electric for vehicles on the road and is one of the leading countries to achieve net zero carbon.
Recent government incentives such as tax reductions and subsides, as well as lower fees for using the roads are the reasons why the electric car market in Norway has grown so fast with almost 80% of new car sales now electric.
One program that Norway has launched is Smart Mobility, with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. With recent events such as COP26, now more than ever it is important that transport plays a significant role by becoming more sustainable. Electrifying transport alone cannot solve these challenges. Transport must become more smarter, more flexible with fewer resources.
Therefore, Norway launched the Pilot-T funding scheme through The Research Council of Norway, which is designed to accelerate the scheme and mobility solutions.
“To be eligible for Pilot-T funding, projects must involve smart technology and ICT and there has to be a business and scaling plan. The project must also involve a partnership or other form of cooperation.”Tor Mühlbradt, Innovation Norway
The objectives of the scheme are simple:
- Help to achieve the transport policy objective of an efficient, environmentally friendly, and safe transport system.
- Generate industrial development and new knowledge in Norway and enable Norwegian business and industry to take advantage of the potential for value creation inherent in restructuring the transport sector.
- Incorporate multiple actors in a collaborative effort.
- Have a need for new knowledge to be realised.
- Result in a pilot or full-scale solution that is applied.
What is smart mobility?
Smart mobility refers to the numerous methods of transportation across several industries. Often it typically refers to public transport and Urban transport schemes. These schemes include things like car sharing, autonomous transport systems, electric transportation both vehicles and urban mobility such as e-bikes and scooters.
Smart mobility usually falls under the brackets of becoming a Smart City and involves optimising and improving transport and communications for the goals of sustainability, efficiency, safety and improve air quality. Many cities across Europe are embracing Smart Mobility solutions to offer is citizens a better, greener, and smarter way of life.
What are the key focus areas?
Mobility as a service (Car sharing, shared micro-mobility, E-scooters, taxi, public transportation) – The idea of sharing the roads has been around for several years to try and reduce the overall road traffic, cost of transportation for citizens and to reduce emissions. There are many services that have arisen to offer these services, usually using SaaS, such as Turo. A start-up company in Norway Sammevei, has launched a ride sharing application that aims to avoid traffic jams, save money whilst taking care of the environment.
According to NAF, an average Norwegian is standing in traffic jams for an average of 20 minutes during a car journey. During rush hour, drivers in Norway sit alone in 6 out of 7 cars. “This results in long queues resulting in loss of time and money, as well as unnecessary CO2 emissions.” (“Samkjøring | SammeVei”)
By reducing car traffic by approximately 10% during rush hour, traffic will flow fine. The solution is rideshared with someone to and from a destination. To achieve this, Sammevei have developed a ridesharing app that connects people to daily destinations. (“Samkjøring | SammeVei”)
Thanks to innovation Norway, Sammevei was able to secure a 4 million NOK grant in 2019, helping to develop its application for public and private use. There are currently over 10,000 users in Norway testing the application.
Electrification (Charging SW and HW, light vehicles and batteries) – We already know that the demand for electric vehicles has increased dramatically in Norway in the last few years. Whilst the demand is incredibly positive, drivers may struggle to find available chargers. This is down to several variable factors but one of those factors is having access to real-time data about available charging stations, their status and price.
SmartCharge application provides a solution to this problem. It is a cloud-based app that enables total control and automation of the eV infrastructure in Norway, including remote maintenance. It allows EV (Electric Vehicle) charging station owners to sell their own generated power. (“Smart charging solutions for e-mobility – The Explorer”)
The SmartCharge dashboard, gives operators access to its historical data and can manage its operations, energy optimisation and payments. They also could include dynamic pricing based on user, owner, and time.
The app helps drivers to locate the right EV charge station based on their individual requirements. It can calculate the optimal route, taking into consideration traffic data. The app also includes the facilitation of payments.
Logistics (Platforms, software, delivery-as-a-service, smart home, and storage) – Solving complex problems requires complex algorithms. Machine learning platform Epigram AI is developing an artificial intelligence system to analyse charging behaviour and improve planning related to EV charging.
This will prove to be hugely beneficial to large cities to ensure that there is sufficient charging availability throughout during peak times where it is needed the most. This type of approach to the eV infrastructure could really prove invaluable in the future and could in some cases reduce costs.
Autonomy (Vehicles, sensors, testing) – Atomising aspects of the transport system including vehicle will lead to better efficiency and a reduction in emissions. Dutch company Samskip is developing autonomous, zero-emission systems for transferring freight from sea to road.
Sustainability is at the heart of our business, and our goal is to continue connecting our logistics transport systems efficiently and reducing CO2 emissions. Multimodal logistics is a green transportation method that reduces transportation costs, shortens transportation time, improves transportation quality, reduces road congestion and is environmentally friendly. It can reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution while improving energy efficiency. (“Samskip and Sustainability – Samskip”)
Samskip has a long history of serving Norway and has built up valuable experience, strong local presence as well as an extensive customer base. Frequent containerized multimodal services connect Norway with the rest of Europe.
Connectivity and analytics (Mobility analytics, Proximity tech, constructions tech, intelligent transport systems) – Data plays a huge part of artificial intelligence and automated systems. Tracsense is developing a system for real-time monitoring of road conditions. Cloud-enabled Machine Learning allows TracSense to predict the next-mile road conditions, as well as further down the road. An advanced predictive algorithm incorporates the latest weather forecasts to offer accurate road condition for every road. The car-mounted sensor provides in-situ updates to this estimation, and thereby increasing the forecast accuracy. This approach allows TracSense to offer hyper-local road condition estimations in real-time. (“TracSense – Friction Estimation beyond Real-time”)
Road-to-wheel friction determines the braking distance, and vehicle manoeuvring limits. TracSense offers ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistant Systems) and self-driving cars the intelligence to guarantee safe operations within all road weather. TracSense car-mounted sensors and cloud services are designed for seamless integration into the vehicle’s on-board systems.
Increasing the situational awareness on pending road conditions significantly increases the road safety. Accurate and local information for driver and car onboard systems offers the opportunity to mitigate risks preventively and effectively.
Smart mobility solutions are making zero-emission cities a reality
Ambitious policies and a vibrant ecosystem for smart mobility solutions have given Norway an edge in electrification. Norway is becoming the hub for innovation to Smart Mobility solutions thanks to its government agendas and the public adoption of such technology.
There is a myriad of benefits to a green transition in the public transport sector as well. Modern technology will not only reduce emissions, but it can also improve freedom of movement and boost safety and security.