FinEst Seminar “Towards Autonomous and Sustainable Centre for Smart Cities”

By Federica Roffi (REA.C3); Agne Dobranskyte-Niskota (REA.C3)

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Would you like to be driven in an autonomous self-driven vehicle or even to have your package delivered by a small and friendly parcel delivery robot? Yes!? -  this is not a futuristic dream, but the reality in Tallinn – Estonia's capital city with a growing number of smart digital innovations. Focusing on Estonia's key Smart Specialisation Strategy on ICT and streaming towards the Mission of Climate Neutral and Smart Cities, Estonian cities and towns may be good examples of future smart cities in Europe.​​

On the 3rd of October REA's Widening team actively participated in a seminar titled 'Towards Autonomous and Sustainable Centre for Smart Cities' organised by the Teaming project FinEst Twins, led by Coordinator Dr. Ralf-Martin Soe, at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) in Estonia. The event was highly political, directly linked to the Cities Mission and included large Smart Cities & FinEst Twins community and several invited speakers.​

​The seminar was a great opportunity to showcase the achievements of the multidisciplinary smart-city Center of Excellence (CoE) building a on two progressively innovative cities Tallinn and Helsinki in the ICT field. The event included numerous highly interesting presentations on the topics of Smart City Research and Innovation, featuring progress in Research Streams and Smart City Pilots. The innovation aspect was highly predominant in the teams presenting their research work. 

The 6 Pilot Projects are at the heart of FinEst Centre for Smart Cities and capture such smart challenges as Greentwins, Future mobility, Microgrids, Digiaudit, Resto, Well-being score. In brief, the Green Twins aims to create a digital twin of the urban greenery areas; the Future Mobility pilot combines autonomous vehicles with the Mobility as a Service Concept, the DigiAudit pilot provides an interoperable dashboard for indoor climate of schools and kindergartens; the Microgrids pilot develops a more efficient way how to store energy in city industrial partks; the Resto pilot provides a tool for renovating old builings in a structured format; and the Well-being Score pilot includes physical and phychological factors into the urban planning. All pilots will be finalised by Summer of 2023, see more https://www.finestcentre.eu/pilotingprogrammes. One of the mobility streams includes the use of mobility as service concept: small parcel delivery robots called ''starships'' circulating all over the city of Tallinn.  The innovations proposed by FinEst Twins involve several Estonian towns and cities making the project highly important on the country scale.  Supporting research streams are linked to topics of smart energy, smart mobility, built environment/lighting, urban analytics & data and Smart City governance. 

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The Finnish counterparts of FinEst Twins are testing Mini Piloting in Estonia and Finland based on research-based ideas and concepts. The Mini Pilots in smart cities include Peak Flow smartphone app for self-monitoring of asthma symptoms,  Radio wave system for monitoring of elderly residents in homecare, Acoustic mattress with low frequency vibrations reducing dementia symptoms, Sound monitoring system for improving public safety in urban areas by AI-based sound analysis, Connectivity platform for improving safety of city bikes and Touch simulating robot with electronic skin to detect and mediate tactile sensations in assisted living.