Finland AI For The Real World

Artificial intelligence isn’t just science fiction. These Finnish projects are using AI to solve pressing
problems right now.

Artificial intelligence gets a lot of press, but much of the attention is on applications that are either
hypothetical or not very useful. While programs that play chess are interesting enough, there are
also AI applications that solve real-world problems.

Finnish airport operator Finavia and advisory firm Fourkind teamed up to solve a problem at the
Kittilä Airport in Lapland. A small airport, Kittilä has only 12 parking places for planes, but in the
winter as many as 58 flights arrive every day, filled with tourists eager to see the one and only
Santa Claus, who lives in Finnish Lapland. One delayed plane could cause a snowball effect,
affecting dozens of other flights.

In a unique solution, Finavia and Fourkind used AI to determine the optimal place to park each plane.
The system devised the best place to put each aircraft using all available data, such as the number of
passengers, arrival time, and buses that might be necessary to get passengers from the tarmac to the
gates. As the situation developed over the course of the day, the AI could revise its plan in real-time to
reflect the changes.

Kittilä saw a 61 percent reduction in airport-related delays, producing estimated savings of half a
million euros in costs in one month alone. In addition, it caused a drop in emissions, because planes
were less likely to have to circle the airport waiting for a space to become available.

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