Aeronautics, defence, space, security
Interview with Brigitte Duême, Sector Associate
Around 150 project-teams - in other words, more than 80% of Inria's research personnel - work on subjects affecting the aeronautics, space, defence and security sectors. Many teams have partnerships with major industrial operators, and sometimes with SMEs from these sectors. We spoke with Brigitte Duême, Technology Transfer Associate for Aeronautics, Space, Defence and Security activities.
What are the main applications of robotics?
Brigitte Duême: Chiefly, improving automation, control and command. This is a field in which Inria has historically been involved. Around ten teams are involved with advanced robotics (piloting of drones, autonomous navigation by walking robots, etc.), while others work on perception (vision, speech) and interpretation, and others on sensor networks. SMEs sometimes ask us for very specific research.
What are the key technologies for these sectors?
Brigitte Duême: By definition, the vast aeronautics, space, defence and security sectors have technological needs that have the potential to interest nearly all of Inria's teams, with a large number of "dual" technologies. Embedded systems, supercomputing and even robotics are scientific and technological fields that are of strategic interest to these industrial sectors.
What are the characteristics of the innovative ecosystems in these fields?
Brigitte Duême: Competitiveness clusters such as Aerospace Valley, Pegase and Astech, not to mention Systematic, give structure to these industries. Furthermore, large groups drive projects in which technology transfer often involves a principal/integrator and an innovative SME supplying the technology. Finally, government agencies, notably the French Armaments Directorate (Direction Générale de l'Armement – DGA), with which Inria has a framework-agreement, obviously have a key role in determining the big priorities, or even in financing innovation. We take all these elements into account when building our projects.
What are the main applications?
Brigitte Duême: This field is one in which Inria has a history, with many applications in fields such as aerospace and defence. Around ten teams are involved in advanced robotics with an impact in the field - for example, in the piloting of drones or autonomous navigation of walking robots, etc. Technology transfer in the field has not yet reached its full potential and opportunities to find new markets still exist.
What are the issues related to high-performance computing?
Brigitte Duême: The role of high-performance computing (HPC) in ensuring the competitiveness of businesses in these fields is now recognised. Access to high-performance computing also involves a dimension that is in part a matter of national or European sovereignty. In this context, we can consider that nearly 40 Inria teams work in associated fields, such as the design and verification of supercomputer architectures, the development of suitable algorithms and models, etc. In summer 2010, in order to help SMEs to incorporate HPC in their innovation policy, we started the "HPC SME initiative", together with GENCI and OSEO, offering training, expertise, access to computing equipment and assistance with funding. Several companies have also been created by Inria in this field in recent years, such as Activeeon, Kerlabs, and Sysfera.
An I-lab has also just been set up involving the COMMANDS project-team and the SME "HPC Project" in order to build a library of HPC mathematical functions for interactive simulation of dynamic systems.
- The I-labs are joint "laboratories" involving a project-team and an SME which wish to have a structured relationship with an explicit three-year work programme, which is part of the company's strategy.
- Cloud Computing: The applications, computing capacity and storage facilities are outside of the company (in a "cloud" of pooled computers). They are considered as "services" for hire and are often accessed via a Web browser.
Are you an entrepreneur? An industry player? Would you like to collaborate with one of our research teams? Contact our aeronautics, defense, space, and security Technology Transfer Associate.
Tel.: +33 1 39 63 53 04