Solving the future of smart mobility and guidance in a hackathon

Last weekend the City of Tampere gave two problems to be solved in Junction Espoo, the biggest hackathon event of Europe. The first challenge was related to guidance, the second to traffic. Three solutions were awarded among 22 proposals. The winners have a possibility to pilot their solution with the City.

In the challenge of smart traffic, the aim was to find out how to improve mobility by utilizing new technology. Two teams - Virtaus and ParkMate – were rewarded as the winners of this challenge.

— With the help of the solution of Virtaus team, moving would become more fluent and various travelling forms could be combined. The solution bringing new ideas to autonomous traffic also suits well to the STARDUST project, Project Manager Maarit Vehviläinen says.

— Should the idea be realized, for instance the patients of a hospital could order an autonomous bus to come close to the entrance doors and thus moving to the bus-stop would be easy, the second judge Hanna Jartti of Tampere Raitiotie Oy adds.

In its solution proposal related to parking, the ParkMate team applied cameras and image recognition by utilizing artificial intelligence. The jury appreciated that the solution would also function in challenging winter conditions, and would be possible to integrate in existing applications since it utilises an open interface. Users could easily get information about the free parking spaces in a map view.

In addition to the winning solutions, an honourable mention was given to the One and All team. Their idea was to encourage the citizens towards environmental-friendly activities by utilizing game-like action.

Guidance to the Next Level

In the challenge of guidance, the focus was finding out how to take guidance to the next level with the help of data. Solutions were searched especially concerning the guidance of elderly people, the realtime recognisation of free parking spaces, and the guidance in exceptional situations. The challenge was won by the TrePark Live team, which developed a cost-effective solution to easy parking with the help of moving sensors.

— We were delighted by the fact that the same data collecting method could also be used for other actions and needs of the City such as the maintenance of the roads. The solution was highly finalized and easy to take in use, Project Manager Anni Joela states.

Team Trepark live pitching their solutions to the judges and mentors.

Whole Junction included 45 challenges in total, among which the challenge of guidance was the sixth popular.

— The 14 proposals, which we got, prove that our challenges were interesting, and that guidance is considered important, Jokela says.

The challenges of the City of Tampere were part of a larger Future Cities track. Junction participants chose among themselves the track winner, and at the Future Cities track the winning solution was GuideMe. The solution aiming at the guidance of elderly people included a user-friendly small device, which could be connected for instance to a walking stick. The device would guide by means of small arrows the right way in outdoors or even in more complicated public premises such as hospitals.

Meeting the Hackers Gave New Ideas

Junction gathered together a huge number of experts from over 80 countries. Among more than 8000 applicants, about 1300 coders, service designers, experts in business and other areas were selected to solve problems during three days. The atmosphere was inspiring, and discussions with the teams gave much to think.

— We were very happy to notice how exited and interested the teams were in our challenges. On Friday, people were basically standing in a queue to come and chat, Vehviläinen and Jartti tell.

— Discussing with the teams and thinking over various ideas strengthened the idea that several possibilities of use can be found for the tramway cameras. The cameras could be utilized for instance in recognizing the free parking spaces, Jartti says.

One of the winning teams, Virtaus, kept up the good spirit and made the judges smile too.

The projects representing the City of Tampere in Junction 2018 were 6Aika: City IoT and 6Aika: Ecosystem of Guidance, financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and STARDUST (grant agreement Number 774094), financed by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The projects are part of Smart Tampere development program.

More information

Carita Isomäki
Project Coordinator, Smart Tampere