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Jun 14 2018

Fujitsu Innovation Award Goes to Sweden


Four students from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, won the 2018 Fujitsu Innovation Award for their conception of a "smart intersection" that would help to increase the efficiency of traffic control systems and enhance traffic security.

The Fujitsu Innovation Award was an integral part of this year's Fujitsu World Tour and the related Innovation Gathering at Sweden's capital Stockholm we reported on some two weeks ago. The competition had started in spring and included a series of five innovation events that were hosted at four Swedish universities – the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the aforementioned Chalmers University of Technology, and Linköping and Stockholm Universities – and the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland. A total of 27 student teams from these universities took part in the contest.

At each event the students, competing in teams of four to six people, got to choose a challenge from areas demanding technical and social innovation, including healthcare, environment, shared economy, and automotive. The teams then had to define a specific problem within that challenge area and come up with a solution to that problem. The solution, in turn, had to include at least one of the intelligent technologies Fujitsu has developed and worked with in recent years – namely, PalmSecure, Eye Tracking, Service Robots and Video Analytics – but could be combined with other technologies as well. The teams had 24 hours after the events to complete their submissions and send them to Fujitsu. All 27 teams participating turned in a concept.

The anonymized submissions where then evaluated by a jury consisting of Fujitsu managing directors and C-level executives from Finland and Sweden and Dr. Adel Rouz, CEO of Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, a leading technology research organization based in the UK. The jury picked the five most convincing concepts and announced them on May 1, along with the contributing teams. Going forward, the top five teams had to further develop their solution proposals based on a template similar to a business plan and were invited to join the Fujitsu World Tour, where they had the opportunity to participate in an all-day exhibition on May 29 and pitch their concepts to other attendees in 3-minute presentations.

The winners from Chalmers University of Technology (Alexandra Esquerra, Sebastian Hafström, Karl Lindell, and Maximilian Schultz) had focused on a problem from the automotive area, more specifically the negative impact today's intersections have on traffic in urban areas: Not only are they inefficient when it comes to regulating the traffic flow, but they also provoke accidents and cause drivers to produce extra levels of pollution during traffic stops. And given the growth in world population as well as a massive trend towards urbanization, these problems will only get worse in the future. To solve them, the team have developed the idea of a "smart intersection," i.e. an intersection and traffic control system with enhanced capabilities that use AI and predictive analysis to ensure a smoother, safer and less toxic traffic flow. Moreover, they claim that "in the future, smart intersections will further enhance the transport flow and provide connectability for autonomous vehicles."

The winning team will now visit Fujitsu Laboratories in London and sit down together with head researchers to develop a plan on how to further refine this solution together.


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