Drive Sweden is a Strategic Innovation Program for sustainable mobility solutions creating connected and automated transport systems that are accessible for all
Drive Sweden is one of the 17 Strategic Innovation Programs co-funded by three Swedish innovation agencies. It aims at driving development towards sustainable mobility solutions and demonstrating efficient, connected and automated transport systems. As such Drive Sweden funds projects and pilots across Sweden to test new ideas in the field, from autonomous shuttles to robotaxis. In these projects academic, public sector and business organisations join forces under the umbrella of Drive Sweden to develop sustainable mobility solutions and services for the future. At the same time Drive Sweden offers an ecosystem and network of partners, which today is composed of 160 members, from 19 different countries. Several conferences, events and workshops, a newsletter and a specific SME platform are also offered on a regular basis.
The program was formed when it became clear that it takes a truly cross-functional collaboration to shape tomorrow’s mobility and to take advantage of all of today’s technology breakthroughs.
There is not one ‘winner category’ thanks to Drive Sweden, but its success builds on the fact that all different stakeholders – public as well as private - have a lot to win if they collaborate.
Drive Sweden receives approximately €2,5 million/year to keep the organization running & funding projects. These funds should be matched by at least similar in-kind financing from industry.
Evidence of success
-Drive Sweden is the natural arena and meeting place for collaboration on mobility in Sweden
-Drive Sweden is an established platform for policy development
-Increased knowledge and support of SMEs
-Contribution to technical solutions and business models for a sustainable transport system
-Network of partners (with high participation of municipalities and authorities)
-Drive Sweden has funded pilots and projects
Once creativity gets going and ideas start flowing, project ideas tend to become larger and more ambitious. From time to time, extra funds have been made available to allow for extensive full-scale pilots, but when those funds are no longer available, they are very much missed!
Potential for learning or transfer
Drive Sweden is an exemplary financing mechanism and cooperation among national agencies, which fosters and funds innovative ideas in the field of sustainable mobility. The practice of working in a true triple-helix environment with close collaboration between industry, government and academia is natural in Sweden. It may not be easily transferrable to another culture/ecosystem, but it’s worth trying. The longevity promised by the setup of a Strategic Innovation Program is very important. Having a 12 year time-frame was crucial for setting the right perspective of a long-term transformation (of mobility).
Technical: One important early step was to create the Drive Sweden Innovation Cloud to enable co-creation sharing data between different stakeholders. This ‘sandbox’ environment has been a very important tool in Drive Sweden’s toolbox and has been an important component in several projects over the years.
*Answers from Jan Hellåker, Chairman of Drive Sweden