The Scandinavian countries are export-dependent and the transportation industry is an important part of their industrial structure which needs to work as efficient as possible. This is especially an issue for Sweden and Norway which are sparsely populated, elongated countries that are geographically quite far from the big markets in Europe. Denmark which is smaller in size and closer to the continent have less issues concerning their geographic location and the subsequent costs surrounding the transportation of goods.
Investments in technological innovation is one of the most important drivers for Scandinavian companies in the transportation industry to increase efficiency and reduce costs. One of the main current ways to achieve this is for companies to implement Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) such as fleet management and telematics that can contribute to more efficient transportation chains and better exploitation of transport capacity.
This focus on increasing efficiency and reducing costs is relevant today and will continue with the technological developments in the industry which will be followed closely by Scandinavian companies of the transportation industry in the coming years. These companies are in general well prepared and equipped with these technologies but as the development of new ITS moves rapidly, there are opportunities for innovative providers to supply companies in their quest for greener and more efficient transportation chains.
The implementation of new technologies comes with the increasing risk of cyber security breaches which companies in the transportation industry also need to consider. These new threats often require cyber security measures to be implemented parallel to any new ITS and this is an area where Scandinavian companies in general are lagging behind.
The transport industry is currently one of the biggest polluters in a region where carbon neutrality is an important objective. In Sweden, the transport industry accounts for one third of the total emissions and this has led to a strategic objective from the government to reduce the emissions with 70% by 2030, an aim which they now in 2019 seem to fall short of.
There were positive news coming from Sweden in spring of 2019 which saw the implementation of the first gas station for liquid biogas to be used as fuel for the heavy transportation industry. Now a fast development of more stations is expected in Sweden to help the industry transition towards renewable energy sources which will be followed by a demand for new components and solutions during this change.
The Norwegian government has an even more ambitious plan to reach zero emissions from cars by 2025, an aim which they as well seem to fall short of, despite having the largest amount of electric cars per capita in the world. Due to the substantial incentives for buying electric cars that exist in Norway, almost 60% of the new cars bought in the last year were electric.
Denmark has their own strategy which states that by 2030, half of their energy will come from renewable energy sources. One of their focus on how to achieve this green transition goes through the use of hydrogen fuel where they lead the way globally. Together with their Scandinavian neighbors, Denmark is now working on a Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway with an aim to connect the Scandinavian countries with strategically placed fueling stations. The image shows where the current fueling stations are situated, with an additional eight new stations planned to be implemented before 2020 just in Sweden alone.
Groundbreaking technological developments in cooperative, connected and automated mobility systems is an area of much interest for the Scandinavian countries who are working to be at the forefront of this ongoing transport evolution. Nordic clusters and ecosystems are currently collaborating on projects to develop, test and deploy new technologies, already with the 5G network in mind to save time on new technology implementation when they later hit the market.
The responsible ministers of Sweden, Norway and Finland have agreed to quickly allocate the frequencies needed for testing, research and commercial expansion of 5G networks before the rest of Europe. 5G networks which are already being tested in various places in Scandinavia and it is expected that it will be rolled out on a big scale from the second half of 2019, with country wide deployment of 5G by the end of 2020. Focus will lay on a rapid deployment in metropolitan areas and along major transport routes which will enable a more efficient Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity among many other possibilities.
The imminent development and implementation of Autonomous Vehicles (AV) is of big value to the Swedish government who has had a Vision Cero strategy to eliminate deaths in traffic ever since 1997. Volvo who has built a reputation as a car manufacturer with safety in mind recently became the first manufacturer to cap the maximum speed on their cars. They were together with a Swedish consortium consisting of Ericsson, Telia and Einride remotely driving a truck located in Sweden from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, powered by 5G. Einride’s electric driverless truck has since then starting its testing on a public road in Sweden, a trial that will last until the end of 2020.
The Swedish truck and bus manufacturer Scania will under 2020 provide the area of Barkaby in Stockholm with what is expected to be one of Europe’s first autonomous and electric buses used for public transport. The project has an optimistic aim to be able to collect the travelers individually at their homes and drive them door-to-door to their destination by 2025.
In 2018 Norway already had driverless minibus services in a number of locations which cover many different environments. There is a big number of the electric cars being sold which already have some autonomous functionality installed to facilitate the implementation and use of new AV technologies. Together with a favourable legislation for AV testing, this progress gives Norway a third place in the AV Readiness Index of 2019, while Sweden is just behind at fifth place.
Whatever new technologies that emerge to bring this transport evolution into next gear will have an exceptional environment in Scandinavia to first test its abilities before later being implemented on scale in other markets.