Innovation news in brief: Automotive; smart grids; engineering; space

Drone versus Jaguar - who wins?

Drone takes on Jaguar

A new Jaguar car driven by a leading movie stunt driver has taken on one of the world’s best drone pilots in a unique ‘cat-and-mouse’ challenge that showcased how future technology could influence car chase filming.

Drone pilot JaeHong Li used the challenge to highlight how technology is developing in both the automotive and unmanned aircraft sectors.

The development of advanced driver assistance systems with radar sensors and on board cameras is closely aligned to the development of technology in drones, which are now being used for everything from racing to autonomous parcel delivery.

View the video here:

Leading European research institutes join forces in transnational smart grid project

Eighteen of Europe's top research institutions from across 11 different countries have joined forces to pool together their know-how and improve research infrastructures within the smart grid sector.

Led by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the transnational ERIGrid project (European Research Infrastructure supporting Smart Grid Systems, Technology, Development, Validation and Roll Out) will give scientists and companies involved in the development of smart grid concepts and components access to concentrated know-how and European research infrastructure.

"We intend to make the innovative methods, concepts and processes developed within this top-class network available to other interested researchers, industrial enterprises, system operators and standardisation institutions," explained Thomas Strasser, AIT.

ERIGrid is scheduled to run for 4½ years.

NCL invests in Centauri Therapeutics

Early stage technology investor NCL Innovation has joined a financing round for Centauri Therapeutics Ltd.

The funding will enable Centauri to develop its leading Alphamer platform, which is targeting Anti-Microbial Resistant (AMR) pathogens, at its base at Discovery Park, Sandwich, Kent, and also exploit the technology within the field of immune-oncology, via a new industrial joint venture.

Altac looks to triple turnover

An innovative engineering company is looking to triple its turnover in the next three years with plans for more acquisitions on the back of new contract wins valued at £2 million.

The Altec Engineering Group, based on the outskirts of Durham City, supplies components for some of the world’s most prestigious telescopes, via its work with the Durham Centre for Advanced Instrumentation (CfAI) at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) Sedgefield, County Durham.

The company’s recent contract wins are for the production of complex aerospace, oil and gas, automotive and defence components. Meanwhile, the group’s special purpose division continues to win orders for production automation systems from a number of industry sectors. Altec is closely involved with several space science projects, including work related to the European Space Agency.

New science–focused technical college proposed at Colworth Science Park

A new science-focused University Technical College (UTC) could be built at Colworth Science Park in Bedfordshire.

UTC Colworth aims 
to create a future pipeline of food scientists and technologists and will offer students full education programmes with a focus on food innovation, science and sustainability.

Keith Purdie, Business Development Director at UTC Colworth and Colworth Science Park, said: “We hope to inspire the next generation of scientists, that could end up working at Colworth Park one day in the future.”

UK celebrates launch of climate and ocean-monitoring satellite

The UK’s routine access to important environmental data is set to take a major step forward following launch of EU satellite Sentinel-3A.

The third satellite of Europe’s Copernicus programme will focus on Earth’s oceans, measuring the temperature, colour and sea levels.

The UK space industry has played an important role in developing the mission’s Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), the Payload Data Ground Segment and components of hardware.