“Planning or simulation aren’t always enough. Sometimes, you simply must test a concept or product under real conditions and circumstances. And, individual players seldom have all the answers and knowledge required, so collaboration becomes a critical factor for success,” says Lars Bern, Head of Testbed Gothenburg.
Testbed Gothenburg was launched about one year ago as a collaborative effort between politicians, academia and a wide range of industrial partners, all of whom were in agreement that multi-disciplinary collaboration was the best way forward for the city’s development. Testbeds provide the forum for such collaboration. They are environments for developing, testing and implementing new products, services or processes in collaboration with others.
What’s happening in 2019-2020?
“We’re currently working very hard to set up new testbeds. One example is Virtual Gothenburg. It’s a digital twin of the city where you can test different types of scenarios like architecture, traffic planning and sustainability with energy solutions and waste management,” says Lars.
“Soon, we’ll have an FED (Fossil-free Energy District) set up too. It’s a local energy market where the buildings in the area both produce and trade electricity, district heating and district cooling with each other,” says Lars.
He goes on to say that planning is underway to set up a permanent testbed for 100% fossil-free construction, which is an extension of the innovation project to establish Hoppet, a fossil-free childcare centre that the local government in the City of Gothenburg will soon be constructing.
“Right now, we’re involved in very exciting work to investigate the area around Säve airport. It’s a very large area of around 3 million square metres. We’re discussing options with the property owner, Castellum, for setting up test beds for future mobility, logistics and aircraft. We envision self-driving terminal transports, electric aircraft and an FED,” says Lars.
“We’re already a world-leader in many of these areas, with future testbeds like Seel (Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory AB) and existing ones like AstaZero and Awitar. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of testbeds for vehicles and transports in Gothenburg,” says Lars.
Testbed Gothenburg has made this possible in that it is now easier to get an overview of the investments being made in the region. It is also advantageous to have a clear strategy and direction for innovation efforts. Testbed Gothenburg helps match expertise with concepts in new ways by providing the right forum for the two to meet. It also adds an international component, generating interest for partners in other parts of the world. That has been a clear trend over the last year.
“For example, we have a Danish team testing some self-driving technology developed in France. Collaboration helps us use the knowledge and expertise generated by the testbeds in new ways. We’re able to transfer it to other applications and partners who can derive the most benefits from it,” he says.