Category Archives: technology

H55 electric propulsion for aviation

After building the 2 Solar Impulse electric airplanes and flying around the world, covering 42’000 km, Solar Impulse’s Co-Founder André Borschberg together with several former colleagues, is now bringing electric propulsion to the world of aviation to make air transport cleaner, quieter, safer and more affordable. H55 has just completed its first VC financing round with NanoDimension, a Silicon Valley and Swiss based Venture Capital firm, to further develop the potential of electric propulsion for existing airplane designs and new aviation solutions such as flying cars, drones and VTOLs.

H55, a technological legacy from Solar Impulse has been founded by André Borschberg, Executive Chairman, Sébastien Demont, CTO and Gregory Blatt, Head of Business Development.

Electric propulsion will revolutionize aviation as it addresses all the challenges and criticisms of traditional combustion aircrafts: noise, pollution, high operating and maintenance costs, risks and safety. It will also allow the development of completely new aircraft designs. Electric motors react immediately when provided with electric current. They can be used to control the stability of the airplane as well as for its propulsion.

Commenting on the NanoDimension investment and the prospects of electric propulsion, André Borschberg believes “electric air transport will drastically improve the way we live and move.  New concepts which are only possible with electric propulsion, will soon allow for aircraft to take-off and land vertically and quietly. Imagine boarding an electric airplane on top of a building which can bring you to the other side of the city in less than 10 minutes, with no impact on the environment, at the KM cost of a car?

As a venture capital firm with a strong record in investing in disruptive technologies, NanoDimension is an ideal partner for H55. Both the company and its founder have received numerous awards in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology. André Borschberg sees NanoDimension’s investment “as our window to the Silicon Valley and as an accelerator to H55’s strategy in being a key player in changing the way people will travel in the future”. 

Founder and CEO of NanoDimension Aymeric Sallin feel strongly that H55 is well positioned to be part of the next aviation revolution. “With SI2 (Solar Impulse 2), André flew over the cities of New York and Shanghai and crossed the Pacific. He has more experience of flying electric aircraft than any other pilot or company in the world. He trusted his life with the technology developed by his team to enable perpetual flight. Aviation regulators trusted them as well and certified SI2 allowing them to fly over cities, continents and oceans. When I saw aEro1, H55’s first electric aircraft, I was impressed and convinced. We are honoured to join this venture and to help them to become a leading provider of electric propulsion for the aviation industry.”

Patrick Aebischer, who joined NanoDimension in 2017, sees H55 as an important part of the highly specialized Swiss technology hub, which he was instrumental in creating and growing as President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). What enables innovation is not just new technological solutions, but also the right pioneering mind-set. EPFL was part of the genesis of the Solar Impulse story, the place where the team initiated the first feasibility study. In 2003 Solar Impulse was told that building an airplane with the wingspan of a jumbo jet having the weight of a car was impossible. A few years later the first electric airplane was flying day and night on solar energy. Unquestionably, the H55 team has the right DNA to bring aviation into a new era”.

Through the support and contribution of the Swiss Federal Office Civil Aviation and the Ark Foundation of the Canton of Valais, H55 has already developed its first-generation electric propulsion management system. With an experimentally certified electric acrobatic demonstrator aircraft aEro1, has successfully flown more than 50 hours with a battery endurance exceeding more than 1 hour. H55 is now working on electrifying its second aircraft, aiming to fly 2 hours only on batteries which will begin flight tests in the summer of 2018.


Cyber threats: EU new Computer Emergency Response Team

An inter-institutional arrangement was signed yesterday that establishes CERT-EU as a permanent Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU institutions, bodies and agencies. This decision follows the successful operation of CERT-EU as a task-force over the last six years.

CERT-EU reinforces the protection against the cyberattacks, which are often targeted also against the EU institutions, agencies and bodies. CERT-EU works very closely with the internal IT security teams of the EU institutions and liaises with the community of computer emergency response teams and IT security companies in all Member States, exchanging information on threats and how to handle them. It also cooperates closely with its counterpart at NATO (NCIRC) and with the Hybrid Fusion Cell at EEAS. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “CERT-EU is a key actor in the protection of the EU institutions against cyber threats. It demonstrates how much the EU institutions can accomplish when they act together.” Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel added: ”Now all EU bodies can count on a permanent operational cybersecurity team to help them respond effectively to the increasing number of advanced cyber threats also affecting citizens.

€2 million for Big data Technologies Horizon Prize

The European Commission launch the Big Data Technologies Horizon Prize for optimising the use of energy grids through a more precise forecasting system.

A total sum of €2 million will be awarded to the winning data analytics solutions that devise an energy grid traffic forecasting system that is accurate, fast and scalable.The three top ranked contestants will have to develop software solutions that will be designed to analyse extremely large collections of datasets, from time recordings of weather conditions to operation of energy grid management. More information on the big data prize is available here. What the Commission is doing to facilitate cross-border access to non-personal data is outlined in this press release. Another emerging technology prize was launched last week, when the Commission announced the €5 million European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good.It will award 5 prizes of €1 million to social innovations using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), including blockchain based solutions. The prize is the third of six EIC Horizon Prizes. Both prizes are funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme.

EU €5 million for “Blockchains for Social Good”

The European Commission will award 5 prizes of €1 million each to social innovations as part of the Horizon Prize on “Blockchains for Social Good”.

The prizes will be awarded to innovators that use blockchain technology to bring about positive social change, including for support of fair trade, allowing transparency in production processes, decentralising data governance and enhancing privacy, enabling accountability and contributing to financial inclusion. This prize encourages the development of scalable, efficient and effective solutions using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the ground-breaking digital technology supporting decentralised methods of consensus reaching or transactions. The official launch is taking place today in Turin, organized by the city of Turin and innovation foundation Nesta Italia. The prize is the third of six European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prizes and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Detailed rules of contest will be available in February 2018, and the deadline for applications is 25 June 2019 in order to allow applicants to demonstrate the viability of their ideas in practice. More information is on the prize page and the EIC pilot website.

EU support regions on high-tech projects

The Commission is announcing which interregional partnerships will receive tailored support under a new EU-funded pilot action for innovative projects.

 “Regions with matching competitive strengths will be able to bring their projects to a common big table. With the right support from the EU, their good ideas will turn into innovative products, among which you will find the European innovation stars of tomorrow.” Said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu.

The aim of this pilot action is to help these partnerships scale up their projects in priority sectors such as big data, bioeconomy, resource efficiency, advanced manufacturing or cybersecurity.

Following a Commission call for interest launched in September 2017, eight interregional partnerships have been selected, with one or several coordinating regions in the lead:

A partnership involving 8 regions led by Noord-Brabant (NL), Flanders (BE) and Norte (PT) will develop joint projects in the field of 3D printing;
A group of 9 regions led by Flanders (BE) will work together in the bio-economy sector;
Bretagne (FR), together with 3 regions and Estonia, will focus on cybersecurity;
Lombardia (IT) and 7 other regions have chosen the circular economy, and more specifically de- and re-manufacturing, as their speciality;
Toscana (IT), 21 other regions and Estonia will dedicate common efforts to develop new solutions in high-tech farming;
Scotland (UK) and País Vasco (ES) are coordinating a group of 16 regions for joint projects in the field of marine renewable energy. The Norwegian region of Sogn og Fjordane is also associated.
Andalucía (ES) and 5 other regions have defined sustainable buildings as their thematic priority;
Andalucía (ES) and Emilia-Romagna (IT) lead a group of 9 regions who will come up with innovative projects in the fields of traceability and big data in agri-food.

These partnerships will benefit from support from special teams established within the Commission, involving experts from several thematic departments. The experts will provide advice on how to best combine EU funds to finance projects, for example.

In addition to this hands-on support from the Commission, each partnership can benefit from external advisory service up to a value of €200,000 for scale-up and commercialisation activities. The money comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This interregional partnerships pilot is part a new set of actions presented by the Commission in July 2017, in order to take smart specialisation one step further and boost innovation in EU regions, so they can all hold their own in a globalised economy.

Technology embedded in every aspect of working life

Dr Joseph Reger Fujitsu’s EMEA CTO

Technology already surrounds us in the workplace, but we are about to enter an age where it will become embedded in every aspect of working life.

In the vison of Fujitsu’s Work place by 2025,artificial intelligence will deliver a huge leap forwards in enhancing the employee experience, by generating new levels of insight into employee behavior, preferences and context. AI will also play a key role in defending against an escalating cyber security threat, which will increase in sophistication as more areas of the business – from the office entry system to the coffee machine – become connected to the Internet of Things.

As Dr Joseph Reger Fujitsu’s EMEA CTO  explained:  “The security strategy for larger corporations makes it difficult for them to engage with smaller organisations and they are not willing to open up their critical systems to a level that makes it more vulnerable. Instead they will look to work with partners that have trusted systems that enable this collaboration”.

Fujitsu Forum 2017


At Fujitsu forum 2017 in Munich we asked to Dr. Reger the human aspects of technology:

  • How IT today is closer to human being?

Fujitsu is a company where responsible business conduct is very important, it is in the company values, and the company rules on how we behave and conduct business. The responsible business require thinking about the consequences of the technologies that we developed and the way we use it or the customer use it. In the early development when we discovered a particular development can cause certain ethical issues we feel obliged to look at the problem that can arise and what can be done to control or at least discuss them. AI is in a development stage today, for this reason we need to discuss and have a societal debate on the consequences, not only because such a powerful technology can be used as a weapon but also for other ethical consequences such as the job market aspects.

  • Could you explain the concept of Human Centric intelligent Society?

Fujitsu arrive at an important pillars in the technology strategy that needs to be human centric. The humans are in the centre of our interest. Our technology development is intended to help people to have better life, more comfortable life but also is addressing the big issue that human society has in terms of complexity we created in urban areas and so on. We clearly recognise that there is a need to use information technology to improve that situation. The humankind built an infrastructure that is not serving only our needs but also putting the human actor in the centre.

Watch the full interview:

Henry Borzi

EU plan new telecoms rules

“Our future is digital, and these rules are key to creating a gigabit society throughout the EU,” said Urve Palo, Estonia’s Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.

The Council granted the Estonian presidency a general mandate to begin negotiations with the European Parliament on new rules for the electronic communications sector that will prepare Europe for the era of 5G by promoting investment, competition, consumer protection and the development of new services.

 “I am pleased that the Estonian presidency has obtained this first mandate earlier than we expected. We will now make every effort to achieve solid progress in talks with the Parliament by the end of the year. The unanimous support for our proposal shows the Council’s commitment to deliver on the digital single market.” Explained the Estonia’s Minister.

Boosting investment is necessary to ensure that the EU is able to meet the ever-growing demand for gigabit connectivity, which is a vital part of the digital revolution.

The minister added that work on this file reflects the importance the Estonian presidency attaches to connectivity and 5G. “In July, my colleagues and I signed the declaration on the adoption of 5G. At the Tallinn Digital Summit, European leaders also discussed how to promote 5G and connectivity. These steps will be reflected in the meetings of the European Council and the Telecoms Council later this month.”

The proposed rules, the European Electronic Communications Code, cover a wide range of areas, from consumer rights to operators’ access to networks and member states’ cooperation on spectrum management. The overhaul is intended to reflect changes in the market since the introduction of the current rules in 2009, and will provide a future-proof framework for a swift and extensive roll-out of 5G and other new generation technologies. These new technologies will facilitate the introduction and expansion of innovative digital services such as connected and autonomous cars, smart cities and smart energy grids.

The Council mandate widens the scope of electronic communications services to take account of the growing importance of services provided over the internet (also known as ‘over-the-top services’, or ‘OTT’), which includes VoIP, messaging apps and email. This is a major change compared to the current rules, which cover only traditional services that are linked to a specific number, such as text messages and landline and mobile calls. Certain characteristics of the service, such as whether the user pays for the service, will determine which rules will apply. In addition, the mandate includes a review mechanism to ensure that end-user rights remain up to date in view of the quick pace of change in business models and consumer behaviour.

The mandate provides for increased cooperation among member states to make radio spectrum available to operators in a timely and predictable manner. However, the Council text acknowledges that the best way to use spectrum varies across the EU, for a number of reasons, including physical geography, population distribution, market conditions and borders with non-EU countries. It also takes into account the fact that member states may need flexibility to react to technological and market changes in their management of spectrum.

The Council’s position updates current rules on operators’ access to networks to encourage competition and make it easier for companies to invest in new infrastructure, including in more remote areas. The mandate allows authorities to reduce the level of regulation to some extent where markets are competitive but introduces safeguards where these are necessary to ensure that the effective regulation of the market is not undermined.

The Council retains the core regulatory approach based on ‘significant market power’ (SMP), which has proved its value over the years in opening up markets to new entrants. However, as market players are becoming increasingly complex, SMP regulation alone is not enough to ensure competition in all cases. SMP rules will therefore be complemented with symmetric regulation of all providers of electronic communications networks in certain situations. In addition, the Council mandate introduces some additional tools to allow national regulatory authorities to address issues that may arise in certain market circumstances, such as duopolistic situations.

The mandate was granted by member states’ ambassadors at a meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper I).

An initial exploratory ‘trilogue’ meeting with the European Parliament is expected to take place by the end of October, if the Parliament confirms at its next plenary session that this is possible.

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