AI Truck helps Finns embrace digital era

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2019-05-17 12:30

The goal of the AI Truck launched today is to help Finnish people experience and experiment with Artificial Intelligence and to teach them key concepts related to AI. The AI Truck, built by students from Omnia and Aalto University, will tour the Helsinki metropolitan area and the regions of Häme and Pirkanmaa from May 28 to Midsummer.

AI is changing our everyday lives and work and augmenting human abilities: AI applications observe the world with and for people, draw up budgets and sales prognoses in the business world, and recommend music or movies suited to our tastes. AI is also changing the world of work – a need to re-educate as many as one million Finns has been brought up. In the future, AI will touch upon nearly every sphere of our everyday lives, so it is important that the Finnish people understand what AI is and how it works.

To respond to this need, the city of Espoo, Lenovo, Microsoft Finland, and Omnia are launching an AI Truck tour. In the AI Truck and in the AI area to be set up around it, Finnish people are offered experiences through which they can learn about the operating principles of AI and see what AI does in practice.

Continuation to AI mentor training

The AI Truck was born from Espoo City Mayor Jukka Mäkelä’s idea to help people learn about AI.

– Last fall, Omnia trained 100 senior citizens from Espoo to become AI mentors. The AI Truck continues this work: we will load the truck with practical examples of AI and bring easy-to-learn lessons to anyone interested in trying them out. Our primary target group is people to whom the digital world is still unfamiliar. We want to ensure that development leaves no one behind and to encourage people to learn about the new technology that can make everyday life easier already today, Mäkelä says.

Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in Espoo Region, which provides vocational training, took charge of the implementation of the vision. Omnia’s vocational students and the international student group from the Aalto University product development course thought up and created the AI Truck in cooperation with business partners.

In the truck, Finnish people learn how AI works by means of concrete tasks and a game.

The visit in the AI Truck is planned to be an escape room game in which 4 to 6 participants together solve three tasks that help them to understand the roles of data, learning and algorithms in AI. A separate experience area is set up in front of the AI Truck, offering visitors the opportunity to examine, for instance, facial and speech recognition and voice control.

Aiming for 10,000 visitors

The goal in the first phase is to help 10,000 Finnish people experience AI. The partners participating in the development of the AI Truck as well as the AI Truck tour include the City of Espoo, Lenovo, Microsoft Finland and Omnia.

– The international team that developed and built the AI Truck has involved students from six different countries. The end product is a great example of the way technology brings together students from different fields and levels: from Aalto to Omnia, from occupational therapists to Masters of Science in Engineering and from economists to electronics and business information technology students. The educational offerings complement and enrich each other, together enabling the solving of significant social challenges by developing new service products and ways of working, says Director General of Omnia Sampo Suihko.

– We have reached a stage of technological development that enables the use of AI in completely novel ways. This is a giant leap in the development of the world, and no single party can carry it out alone. The AI Truck project is a great example of cooperation of this kind, with different players together enabling this wonderful opportunity to bring AI to people. This way, we can also promote digital equality in society, says Eero Tainio, Lenovo’s Country Manager Finland and Baltics.

– AI is already here. We use it in many applications both in our free time and at work, perhaps unaware that AI is operating in the background. It is, however, important that the Finnish people understand what AI is and how it works, because the change driven by AI impacts us all. In all changes, learning has a key role, and it is great that the AI Truck will help visitors get acquainted with and learn more about AI, says Jussi Tolvanen, Managing Director of Microsoft Finland.

The first phase of the AI Truck tour starts on May 28, 2019 in Espoo, and by Midsummer, people in Helsinki, Kauniainen, Kirkkonummi, Tampere and Hauho will have a chance to visit the truck. More information about the AI Truck and its tour schedule is available at

More information:

A press release by the City of Espoo, Lenovo, Microsoft Finland and Omnia