Ketil Solvik-Olsen joins Mobility Forus as Senior Advisor
Ketil Solvik-Olsen, former Minister of Transport and Communications, will become Senior Advisor to Norway’s market leader in autonomous buses, Mobility Forus, as of 1 December. Mobility Forus is owned by Seabrokers and Boreal.
Mobility Forus is pulling out all the stops to develop modern public transport solutions. The company was the first to test self-driving vehicles on Norwegian roads and had tested such vehicles in a closed-off area long before legislation allowed for testing on public roads.
As Minister, Solvik-Olsen was a driving force behind modernising the legislation to permit autonomous vehicles. Similar progress was made in shipping with dedicated test areas along the coast for autonomous shipping vessels and a dedicated strategy for flying drones.
“We are in the midst of a technological revolution. We will continue to get better and more environmentally friendly vehicles; we will get even better communication tools; and we will collect, handle and share an increasing amount of data. This will, in turn, stimulate a revolution in how we can deliver good public transport services. With increasingly better and more flexible services to suit individual needs, I believe that many more people are going to choose public transport solutions in the future. Autonomous vehicle technology will strengthen the role of public transport in the transportation sector. I am pleased to be able to contribute to a sector with enormous potential,” says Solvik-Olsen.
First in Norway
In collaboration with Kolumbus and Forus Business Park, Mobility Forus was the first company in Norway to test self-driving buses as a public transport solution. The project was a public–private partnership and has provided unique experience, which Mobility Forus is now building on. The former Minister of Transport and Communications believes that Norway is eminently qualified to produce successful innovations in the transportation sector, and is impressed by the role private businesses are playing in making this happen.
In July, Mobility Forus was boosted by Boreal acquiring 50 per cent ownership of the company, a move that adds weight and experience to the public transport arena. Seabrokers has several years’ experience in innovation and technology, and together, the two owners have a strategy for changing the future of public transport.
“With the technology, experience, will and financial muscle needed for implementation, the company has almost everything in place. We are also excited to have Ketil Solvik-Olsen now working with us,” says Mobility Forus’s General Manager, Linn Terese Lohne Marken.
Solvik-Olsen has long demonstrated a burning commitment to expand, streamline and modernise public transport, and we have very similar ambitions and thoughts about the future,” says Marken, who adds that bus drivers can look forward to a bright future.
“Autonomy is here to stay, and we will initially act as a shuttle service that lowers people’s threshold for using public transport and will lead to more and happier public transport passengers and increase the overall need for public transport,” says Marken.
National test centre at Forus
“Mobility Forus now has a self-driving bus that will transport people between the bus route and Vestre Svanholmen at Forus. It is a supplement to the normal public transport services. We need to make it easier to choose public transport options, and Mobility Forus is facilitating new solutions that will help reduce the use of private cars,” says Marken.
The next step in this plan for future mobility is to establish a national test centre at Forus. In collaboration with key stakeholders at Forus, Seabrokers and Boreal will establish specific areas for testing self-driving vehicles and advanced mobility infrastructure. Solvik-Olsen feels this makes contributing to Mobility Forus’s work even more exciting.
“Mobility Forus’s work on creating a test centre is extremely exciting. This will strengthen our position in the international competition to develop technology and create jobs. Norway is certainly at the forefront of technological development. We have good mobile networks, a population with positive views on technology, proactive public companies, and a strong teamwork culture with minimal hierarchy. A test centre can become a valuable meeting place that ties the breadth of Norwegian competencies together,” says Solvik-Olsen.