The Industrialist: Trends & Innovations - October 2022
Trends and innovations that matter
Know more about the latest
industry, from steering-wheel
free robotaxis, to hydrogen-
powered luxury cruise ships.
a front runner
Senior Managing Director,
Global Industrial Sector Lead, Accenture
EasyJet and Rolls-Royce propel
hydrogen engine technology
The two companies have announced a joint partnership, H2ZERO,
that promises to accelerate the development of hydrogen combustion
engine technology. H2ZERO will combine Rolls-Royce engine expertise—
developed through rig tests with Cranfield and Loughborough
universities—with EasyJet’s operational knowledge. H2ZERO will launch
a series of engine tests on the ground in 2022, beginning with a Rolls-
Royce AE 2100 in the UK and followed up with a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet
engine. The end goal is to prove that hydrogen is an option for powering
a wide range of aircraft by the mid-2030s, including narrow-body
airplanes. Both companies had already committed to the UN-backed
goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Johnson Controls buys
Johnson Controls has acquired the Seattle-based zero trust cybersecurity
provider to keep connected buildings secure. Tempered Networks’
‘Airwall’ technology enables data to be shared securely between a
multitude of endpoints, including edge gateways and cloud platforms,
by ensuring people and devices are continuously authenticated. The
platform will be rolled out across deployments of Johnson Controls’
own AI-enabled Openblue secure communications stack. The platform
combines edge AI and machine learning in the cloud to optimize building
management. Together, the companies hope to make all buildings
smarter and more sustainable.
TK Elevator launches IoT
The German company is rolling out a real-time monitoring and
predictive maintenance platform known as MAX, that it says
will reduce elevator downtime by up to 50%. The platform
harnesses the cloud, big data and machine learning to collect
elevator data—everything from door movements to problem
codes—and provides building owners and managers with the
ability to monitor and control their equipment, and the insights
to increase uptime and improve passenger safety. MAX enables
real-time predictive diagnostics and sends alerts to elevator
engineers in the event any components need to be replaced
or systems updated. MAX can even calculate a piece of
equipment’s remaining lifespan.
Hitachi and HyperloopTT
complete signalling trial
Hitachi Rail has modified its European Rail Traffic Management
System (ERTMS) simulators to work with HyperloopTT's
technology. The collaboration brings signalling logics from
high-speed rail to the cloud, to help HyperloopTT develop
reliable, sustainable, fast and affordable capsule travel.
HyperloopTT’s ultimate goal is to transport people at speeds
of up to 1,200km/h and the proof of concept, being developed
with Hitachi, gets the company one step closer to that goal.
The new digital simulator enables the integrated testing of
traffic management, signalling and safety features, and the
companies are now developing an interface. Because ERTMS
is used everywhere in the world, HyperloopTT’s systems won’t
need to create new standards.
Explora Journeys and
hydrogen cruise ships
Explora Journeys, the luxury cruise division of MSC Group, has
announced it will operate a fleet of four liquefied natural gas (LNG)
powered ships and two that are hydrogen-powered. The company
is building the new hydrogen powered vessels with shipbuilder
Fincantieri. EXPLORA V and VI will be ready in 2027 and 2028 and
will feature new LNG engines designed to help eliminate methane slip,
as well as a containment system for liquid hydrogen. The hydrogen will
be used to power a six-megawatt fuel cell that will generate power for
the hotel portion of the ship, so it can be emission free when in port.
LNG eliminates local air pollutant emissions such as sulphur oxides
and particles. Using the engines in marine vessels could help reduce
CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent compared to standard fuels.
US startup RoadBotics specializes in image analysis of road
infrastructures. The company harnesses artificial intelligence
to collect, scan and analyze visual data from smartphone
cameras attached to vehicles. It then transforms that data into
actionable insights to improve road safety and maintenance.
Michelin DDi (Driving Data to Intelligence) already offers its
own data intelligence services. The division researches and
develops telematics data, for example by logging the road
condition from sensor data on vehicles. The acquisition will
enable it to accelerate the development and rollout of its
‘Safer Roads’ solution in North America and later Europe,
and consolidate its offering. The data gathered by RoadBotics
will provide insights on driver behavior and help identify the
causes of near misses on the road.
Baidu robotaxis have
removeable steering wheel
The Chinese tech giant has revealed a new driverless car that
will be used by its ride-hailing robotaxi service in China in
2023—a year before Tesla begins mass production of a similar
vehicle. The electric Apollo RT6 features a removeable steering
wheel and will cost $37,000—almost half the cost of Baidu’s
previous model. Although it can operate without human
intervention, it must have a detailed map of the area it will
operate in pre-loaded to its system. The company claims
driverless taxis will charge half the fees of traditional taxis.
Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service, Apollo Go, is already
available in parts of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and
Guangzhou—though staff do remain in the vehicle for safety
reasons. The service has operated more than one million
journeys in just two years.
Robot helps Kajima build
stay on track
A concrete finishing robot is helping Japanese construction
firm Kajima Corp complete construction of its regional
headquarters in Changi on target, following worker shortages
caused by the pandemic. The robot smooths and levels
concrete floors and can reduce labor costs by up to 30 percent.
Using a robot for the complex task also stands to improve
quality and safety according to Kajima, which claims it can
determine the hardness and unevenness of concrete. The
headquarters, known as the Kajima Lab for Global Engineering,
Architecture and Real Estate (The Gear), is designed to increase
collaboration among local companies, with its third floor open
to researchers from startups and small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) partnered with Kajima.
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