Times are changing. One just has to look at the automotive industry to see where society is aiming to head over the next decade.
Similar to the Oulu-based automotive Cluster, the Tampere cluster is also seeing more and more non-automotive companies joining their cluster. But why is that?
According to Ari Lylynoja, from Business Tampere, one reason could be due to the automotive industry transforming so rapidly that companies from other sectors can also find a place within the automotive industry.
Why yes, there still is a need for better safety features and better fuel efficiency (if we would need fuel at all, thank you, EVs), but the public also wants those “fun features.” For example, interactive games for the kids or a gentle reminder to pull over and stretch your legs.
I sat down with Ari to discuss these changes and how the Tampere Automotive Cluster is promoting collaborations to drive change within the automotive industry.
Interview with Ari Lylynoja
Carrie: Hi Ari! Thank you for meeting with me today. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I will get straight to our questions. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background with the Tampere Automotive Cluster?
Ari: Yeah, of course. My background is primarily in factory automation. I spent 20 years focusing on industrial robotics and digital solutions. I have been involved in various development projects within the automotive industry before, which is why I find my current position with the Tampere Automotive Cluster exciting. The automotive industry is transforming rapidly and has started to include so many different sectors that it’s exciting times.
Carrie: Could you tell me a bit about how the cluster came about and its role within the automotive industry?
Ari: The Tampere Automotive Cluster came about because we noticed many companies in the Tampere region were making solutions for the automotive industry. By creating the cluster, we were able to offer a more extensive network that we could utilize to bring in for collaborative projects.
Currently, our cluster has more than 100 companies and 200 members from all over Finland. These companies cover many industries, from academic and research institutes to automotive and high-tech companies. Moreover, companies are coming to us to break into the automotive sector.
Carrie: What is the main focus for Tampere Automotive Cluster?
Ari: Our primary focus is finding new ways to collaborate, finding strategic partners and business opportunities, and attracting new regional investments. We also arrange networking and pitching events to encourage collaboration on projects, such as autonomous driving, ADAS, AI, digital cockpit, automotive software development, simulation, digital twins, etc.
Carrie: How do you see the automotive industry in Finland compared to other Nordic countries?
Ari: The automotive industry is increasing here in Finland. Even though we don’t have large-scale manufacturers, we have a lot of R&D and big international companies basing themselves in Tampere. Tampere is attracting new investors and companies because they see the benefit of our local technology ecosystems, excellent industry-university collaboration, and the availability of new talents.
Carrie: Do you think it’s Tampere’s R&D that makes it stand out from other cities?
Ari: Yes, that, and the fact we have a long history in high-tech solutions. Tampere is known for industry-leading mobile work machines, machine building, and ICT product building. Tampere is an excellent example of a city known for high-tech fields in many industries that focus on sustainable and high-tech solutions.
Carrie: What has been the most significant “wow factor” while working in the Automotive Cluster?
Ari: For me, it is when I meet smaller companies at networking events and hear about their projects with OEMs. These projects are enormous, and the R&D and NDA are so strict they can’t discuss it, but what they can tell is so interesting, exciting, and broad. So I always get excited about the companies.
Also, there is a significant need for developing partners in the automotive industry, so companies are actively looking for new partners to match with OEMs and Tier1 technology suppliers. The importance of this is to speed up the time to market. That speed of idea to market is always awe-inspiring for me, but it is also exhilarating for the customers.
Carrie: Are the companies in the automotive cluster fitting primarily into the traditional categories of the automotive industry, or is there a lot of diversity in the cluster?
Ari: More and more companies in the automotive industry realize they could be. We are seeing this in material technology. Also, we have seen more companies contacting us and registering to be part of the cluster. So while we have established companies, we also have out-of-box thinking companies.
Carrie: What are the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry, and what kinds of solutions do you see being developed to solve them?
Ari: There are pretty big challenges due to the current situation in the world – for example, poor availability and very long delivery times of specific automotive components. As the whole industry is in the middle of significant disruption, the ability to develop new innovations and technical solutions is of utmost importance.
The challenge here is the relatively poor availability of talents. One solution is to find new strategic RDI partners to keep up with the competition. Tampere Automotive Cluster has assisted automotive companies with scouting programs, pitching events, etc.
Carrie: This is a question I always ask as it is of great personal interest to me. The general public reads a lot about autonomous driving, from the benefits to the dangers of what it could mean for society. What will it take for the public to accept autonomous driving?
Ari: It’s going to be a step-by-step process. We now have autonomous deliveries in Finland, and we will see more advanced solutions for driver assistance and limited autonomous driving first, for example, in safer driving and self-parking. But to see fully autonomous driving, I think we are still quite far away from that. So we are heading in that direction, but I think it will be introduced slowly to the consumer.
For further information about Kaira Clan contact Carrie Schoeller
To hear more about the Tampere Automotive Cluster contact Ari Lylynoja