Smart City Update from Tampere: Development of test area for fully independent automated vehicles

Smart City Update from Tampere: A test area for fully independent automated vehicles will support the public transportation development in Tampere

The City of Tampere in Finland has set the goal of Tampere becoming a forerunner for smart transport and autonomous mobility. Tampere region aims to be the base for one of the smartest smart traffic systems in Europe and it already is internationally known and appreciated forerunner in the area of smart traffic. One of the goals is to utilize automatic buses as part of the transport system, for example, assisting the feeder traffic for the brand new tramway.

At the moment, a test area where companies can test and develop various smart transport solutions is being developed in the Hervanta area in southern Tampere. The development work for the test area has been launched together with companies, research institutes and educational institutions.

“Tampere has diverse expertise and development in telecommunications technology, and many companies and research institutes in the field operate here. The idea of developing a test area specifically in Hervanta came from the needs of these companies and research institutes”, says Senior business advisor Markku Niemi from Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Business Tampere’

The goal is to enable testing of fully automated vehicles

The goal is to develop a secure and reliable test network that utilizes Nokia’s cloud-based private LTE test network in Hervanta, Tampere. Going forward, the Hervanta test area will enable the further development of the testing of solutions based on robotic buses. The purpose is to enable the testing of highly automated mobility, meaning that the vehicle travels independently without a driver and automation takes care of controlling and steering the vehicle.

Self-driving car


A test area as a part of urban environment is a rarity

The test area offers companies and research institutes the opportunity to try out new smart transport and automated mobility services in a real urban environment. There are not many similar test areas in the world that function as part of a normal urban environment. The development work for the test area was started in the ERDF project “Smart City Test Area – Towards Level 4 Automated Transport”. The project is funded by the Council of Tampere Region.

The test area offers wide testing opportunities for different organizations

The project is underway, and a lot has been done already. An international benchmark study of similar test areas has been made, as well as workshops to get to know the technical and practical needs of the test area for the operators.

“Our international benchmark study found four factors that support success: the region’s high level of expertise, public support, political will, and a transport environment suitable for testing. All of these factors are present in the case of the test area in Tampere”, says Atte Riihelä, Project Manager at Ramboll Finland.

Also a digital twin has been developed. This realistic, versatile and user-friendly service design tool is a platform for teaching vehicles to move safely around the area. The digital twin also helps operators to develop the area in the future.

The future test area can be used by companies, universities and research institutes, for example. The City of Tampere also has plans for various experiments and pilots utilising the test area.