Oulu, the northern Silicon Valley, lives and breathes wirelessly. Companies in Oulu can provide the automotive industry with wireless connectivity solutions and instantaneous data transfer, data security, lighting solutions, machine vision, lightweight and durable solutions made possible by printed electronics, power management – and many other solutions and technologies, such as the co-development of 6G, managed by University of Oulu.
Oulu offers the optimal ecosystem for cutting-edge ICT innovation and expertise. During our decades of global ICT leadership focused on technological breakthroughs and sustainable growth – we've learned that our edge doesn't cut, it creates.
Within just a few years, Oulu has become one of the leading hubs of the automotive field – without a single auto factory in the region.
In Oulu, we accepted the three central challenges of the auto industry and mobility of the future: new transmission technologies, autonomous traffic, and new business models of mobility. All of these require solutions which have been developed in Oulu for more than 50 years already. Fast wireless connections, different sensor technologies, demanding software solutions, complex and data-secure architectures, and top-notch usability – all of these represent expertise found in Oulu and required by the automotive industry of the future. What is more, we must not forget a very special trait of expertise in the region: printed electronics and intelligence, which will revolutionise auto interiors concerning design as well as usability features.
In the year 2018, we understood these three challenges and the need for the industry to meet them. We set out determinedly to build partnerships with Gothenburg in Sweden and Stuttgart and Hannover in Germany, the most significant centres of European expertise in the field. So far, we have already hosted dozens of related visits to companies in Oulu, as well as taken local companies to dozens of workshops in Sweden and Germany.
Today, Automotive Cluster Oulu consists of nearly 80 companies. Included are companies not only from Oulu but also elsewhere in Finland. The leading forces entail veteran companies of the field, such as Elektrobit-Continental, TactoTek, Siili Solutions, Symbio, Proventia, Bittium and Huld, but involved are also companies with expertise from wearable intelligence and machine vision to various industrial manufacturing technology solutions.
Although we have had the honour of hosting esteemed guests such as the Head of Geely Europe in Oulu, we work with our client companies daily, enabling meetings between companies and just the right people. Take for example the workshops in Gothenburg, where development engineers from CEVT and Geely get to talk with Oulu companies directly and see and feel their products and solutions with their own eyes and hands – this has proved to be a recipe for success in finding new innovations. As a token of trust and collaboration, CEVT delivered a Lync & Co car to Oulu to function as a test bed for the solutions of our companies.
Not a week goes by without requests from the auto industry to solve new challenges, which we then relay onward to companies in Automotive Cluster Oulu. Although spring 2020 has been a challenge for all the world, we still accomplished several workshops with the European automotive industry hubs – virtually, of course. After the summer, we shall continue work in the Chinese and US markets.
The operatives of science, research and education in our region have recognised the outlook of the automotive field early on and invested particularly in software research and education. This has also enabled the creation of new companies in the field. And while the rest of the world is deploying 5G, we have already started a 6G Flagship programme, in which we as a region have invested ca. 250 million euros. We believe that wireless connections with sub-millisecond latency along with cloud computing will make a huge variety of new services and applications possible also in the field of automotive industry.