EU backs €2.7bn 'invisible computing' research

Industry-led initiative aims to boost investment in embedded systems
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Industry-led initiative aims to boost investment in embedded systems

The European Union wants member states to back an industry-led €2.7bn research programme into the invisible embedded computer systems that control everyday household appliances, consumer gadgets and cars.

Embedded systems, which are hidden from the user and cannot usually be manipulated or reprogrammed, are found in virtually all electronic equipment used today from wireless telephones and DVD players to those in cars and aeroplanes.

The Advanced Research & Technology for Embedded Intelligence and Systems (Artemis) programme consists of 20 tech and automotive companies, including Daimler Chrysler, Nokia, STMicroelectronics and Thales, which claim increased investment in embedded systems is vital to European industrial competitiveness in the future.

A fifth of the value of each car produced in the EU is due to embedded electronics and that is expected to rise to around 40 per cent by 2015, creating 600,000 new jobs in the EU automotive sector alone, according to Artemis.

Viviane Reding, European commissioner for Information Society and Media, said in a statement that Artemis is the best way for European companies to take advantage of economies of scale and meet ever-increasing R&D costs.

She said: "Artemis shows us an excellent way forward to face the research challenges in embedded computing systems over the next 10 years. It should be open to all players and it is crucial that it accelerates the pace of innovation."

Professor Yrjö Neuvo, Artemis chairman and senior technology advisor at Nokia, said being able to develop increasingly complex software and networking is of "paramount importance" to Nokia and the whole mobile sector.

He said in a statement: "The tools and design methods to be jointly developed as part of Artemis will enable us to increase the functionality of mobile devices to meet future customer needs without sacrificing usability or operating times."

Artemis has set a target of raising a combined public-private research investment of €2.7bn between now and 2010 with funding from industry, the EU and member states.

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