This Summer, I spent a pleasant week touring around Sweden. Starting in Stockholm, I drove across to Gothenburg and back again travelling north and then south of Lake Vanern. It was a picturesque route with plenty of lakes and trees and not many people. Sweden is one of the most innovative countries on Earth - think Nokia, Ikea, Skype, Spotify, Minecraft and Candy Crush to name just a few.
I took a look through the Idea Catalog to see what robotics and AI development was happening along my route.
Stockholm is the capital and, by far, the largest city in Sweden. It is built over 14 islands so you are never far from a bridge or some water. It is also home to plenty of robotic companies.
Einride have the T-Log which is an autonomous, electric powered truck with no cab. It has SAE level 4 autonomy (which means it is capable of completing an entire journey without a driver but it is equipped with controls in the event a driver needs to assume control of the vehicle. It is specifically designed for the logging industry which huge - about 20% of Sweden's GDP.
Sandvik also produces an autonomous vehicle but this time for the mining industry. The LH514 can move 14 tonnes and they have a neat promotional video of the beast moving its way through a glass maze to demonstrate its precision.
Furhat is a social robot that is capable of displaying humanlike expressions and emotions on a customizable face. The ORCA Hub team at Heriot-Watt University have recently acquired one to support their work in robotics for the oil & gas industry.
Tobii have glasses designed to capture natural viewing behavior. in any real-world environment. The University of Pennsylvania are using it to fly a drone wherever you look.
En Route to Gothenburg
90 minutes from Stockholm is Vasteras and home to the Vasteras Giraff - a telepresence robot designed to help the elderly to communicate with the outside world.
A little further on is Orebro and the University there is the lead in a Horizon 2020 project called Smokebot. This is a mobile robot with novel environmental sensors for the inspection of disaster sites with low visibility.
Gothenburg is a picturesque city with many cafes and shops. Liseberg is a famous amusement park almost in the city centre itself. Like Stockholm, it is a popular weekend city break for Europeans.
Gothenburg is home to Volvo, a vehicle manufacturer since the 1920's (and yes there is a Volvo museum there). They are also making self driving trucks (called Vera). In fact Einride, mentioned earlier, was set up by an ex Volvo executive.
SP Marine have developed a robot for containing oil spills and is currently being tested by the Port of Gothenburg. The robot tows a boom across the water from one pier to another to allow oil to be collected in one place.
Back to Stockholm
The route back to Stockholm is more industrial than the Northern route. The town of Husqvarna is home to the industrial organisation of the same name producing a huge range of products from chainsaws to motorbikes. They also produce demolition robots similar to Brokks (who are also Swedish but located much further North). Toshiba modified one for use in Fukushima.
Slightly south, in the town of Holsbybrunn, is Aquajet who also produce demolition robots but these use water jet cutting - so called hydrodemolition.
Saab is based in Linkoping and mainly produces fighter aircraft these days although they did produce cars for a very long time. They also own Saab Seaeye who produce underwater vehicles (ROVs) for the oil & gas industry. They have a huge range and Sellafield have two Tigers for legacy pond work.
Nykoping is an important town for radioactive waste treatment. Originally owned by Studsvik it was recently sold to EDF (Cyclife). They do metal melting and thermal treatment of organic waste by incineration or pyrolysis.
Weda, a bit closer to Stockholm, produce pool cleaners. One of their models is also being used at Sellafield for their legacy pond work.
About the Idea Catalog
The Idea Catalog is designed to showcase technologies from across the world and from multiple industries.
Use Cases include:
Optioneering. Better than random brainstorming - research technologies that might be applicable to ensure you have covered everything possible. Sail through peer reviews.
Technology Development. Avoid reinventing the wheel. Maybe someone has already done most of the work and you can build on previous work. Save time and money.
With over 5,000 entries it is, by far, the largest and most comprehensive technology catalog in the world.
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