Society and Technology

14 Juin Technology Outlook 2021

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
June 2021
Authors: Claudia Schärer et al. Main themes: early identification, technology Nature of publication: study SATW’s key mission of early identification comprises the detection, description and assessment of technologies that will be significant for Switzerland’s economy and society in coming years1. Every two years, these activities are wrapped up in the publication “Technology Outlook”, which in 2021 has reached its fourth edition. The Technology Outlook 2021 builds on the 2019 edition. The technologies described back then have been newly assessed with regard to their technological maturity. Those having a time horizon of less than three years till market maturity have been excluded. In collaboration with SATW’s two early identification bodies, we have identified new relevant technologies that will gain significance in Switzerland and that correspond to the targeted time horizon of at least three years until product maturity. The Technology Outlook 2021 presents a total of 45 technologies and areas of application. For this edition, SATW has again collected quantitative data on the different technologies and used the four-quadrant diagram “Economic significance of technologies for Switzerland / Available research competence in Switzerland”. This allows for the first time to identify certain trends.
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14 Juin Autonomous mobility

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2021
The future aim of highly and fully automated vehicles with corresponding drive systems is to free drivers from often tedious tasks, eliminate them as a source of danger, and make more efficient use of infrastructure. They require an almost unimaginably high level of digitalisation, artificial intelligence usage and innovative networking to enable extremely complex systems to emerge. Autonomous vehicles are currently at an early stage of development, planning or even testing. Details of initial authorisations and commercial availability are still far off: sceptics dismiss this as just hype, proponents talk about it soon becoming a reality. This is supported by billions in investment from large countries such as the USA, China, and Germany, as well as gigantic technology and service conglomerates such as Alphabet-Waymo, Uber and leading automobile manufacturers. A realistic timeframe seems to be 20 years until highly automated vehicles penetrate the market, with at least 40 years for fully automated versions. Autonomous shuttles, taxi fleets, computer-guided lorry convoys and traffic on the outskirts of major cities will most likely lead the charge. The small brochure provides a detailed overview of the current challenges on a technical, legal, environmental, and social level, and shows some potential benefits.
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07 Avr Significant Gas Fired Generation Required During Transition To Zero Carbon

Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE)
2021
National Energy and Climate Plan, Download file The Irish Government has adopted a challenging target of having 70% of the country’s electricity produced from renewable sources (mainly wind and solar) by 2030. In its newly published report, ‘The Challenge of High Levels of Renewable Electricity in Ireland’s Electricity System’ The Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE), seeks to identify the risks in the transition to renewable electricity and recommend prudent actions by policy makers. There is broad agreement that long term decarbonisation of the planet’s energy systems requires a major shift to electricity as an energy vector. Ireland is planning to have nine hundred thousand electric vehicles on the road by 2030 as well as six hundred thousand heat pumps. Don Moore says “In this context, a failure of the power system would have a catastrophic effect on normal economic life. In order to maintain necessary reliability standards while replacing coal, oil and peat generation, Ireland will require significant gas fired generation for the next two decades.” Gas consumption will reduce as generating units will operate with lower load factors, but peak gas demand for power generation will be significantly more than today. Don Moore states that “Power system reliability is therefore critically dependent on secure primary energy supplies (natural gas) to the Island of Ireland”. By 2030, the island of Ireland will be almost totally dependent on Great Britain (GB) for its gas supply. GB in turn will import up to 75% of its gas due to declining North Sea production. In the Academy’s view, developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Ireland is highly advisable to ensure secure, diverse and cost-effective gas supplies. There are several major LNG exporting counties, such as Qatar, Algeria, Nigeria, and Russia which have enormous gas reserves, and Don Moore says “ Ireland is one of the very few maritime countries in Europe which does not have an LNG import facility”. The global LNG market is now extremely competitive with over 20 exporting countries and more than 40 importing countries. Alternatives to gas fired generation to support 70% renewable electricity have been proposed, these include: • Pumped Hydro Storage • Compressed Air Storage • Battery Storage • Carbon Capture and Storage • Increased Interconnection • Hydrogen Fuel Options • Biofuels • Marine Energy (Wave/Tidal) • Nuclear Power The Academy’s considered conclusion is that none of these options can be implemented on a scale that would significantly reduce Ireland’s gas fired generation by 2030.
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03 Mar Innovation in the food industries: impacts of the digital revolution

National Academy of Technologies of France (NATF)
March 2021
The authors: Alain Michel Boudet, Pierre Feillet The appropriation of digital technologies, artificial intelligence and data-driven learning for more effectively designing, manufacturing, controlling and distributing food that meets consumer demands and respects environmental constraints – for the food industries this is a necessity and a great ambition that the public authorities must actively support.  
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01 Jan Skills shortage threatens Sweden’s competitiveness

Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering (IVA)
2021
Sweden is a country with many global and world-leading companies. Staying at the forefront of an accelerating green and digital transformation requires a strong commitment to research and development. With the R&D Barometer IVA is for the third consecutive year investigating what the Swedish research and development climate is like. The barometer is based on a questionnaire answered by 100 R&D managers in Swedish industry, ten of whom were interviewed in depth. Together, the companies in the survey have around 56,000 R&D employees, which corresponds to 74% of all R&D employees in Swedish industry.In summary, IVA's R&D Barometer 2021 shows that the Swedish R&D climate is good, but that it has gradually deteriorated since previous years' surveys. The business community continues to find that shortages of skill are the biggest threats to Swedish companies' R&D, while having employees with the right skill set is considered the most important factor for success. To strengthen the Swedish R&D climate, many executives see that the ability to recruit from abroad needs to be improved, and that tax policies should be adapted to attract foreign experts to come and stay in Sweden. In addition, cooperation between companies and universities needs to be strengthened. The report is available in Swedish.
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01 Déc The journey to an autonomous transport system

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2020
Authors: National Engineering Policy Centre The Safety and ethics of autonomous systems project overview outlined a need for further sectoral exploration of the role autonomous systems could play. This output is the first of a series of sector specific deep dives. This summary sets out the current technological state of the art, domain challenges such as decision making time and software ownership, and crosscutting challenges such as safety assurance, ethical considerations and public perception.
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01 Août Safer complex systems

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2020
Authors: Professor John McDermid OBE FREng, Dr Philip Garnett, Professor Simon Burton, Dr Rob Weaver An initial framework for understanding and improving the safety of complex, interconnected systems in a rapidly changing and uncertain world.
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01 Juin Sustainable living places

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2020
Authors: National Engineering Policy Centre (see report for working group members) Recognising that there are many different systems approaches, this National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC) report presents a systemic perspective on housing in the UK and the wider planning and infrastructure system in which it is situated.
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01 Jan How Sweden reaches its climate goals

Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering (IVA)
2020
In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement the Swedish ambition is to become climate neutral by 2045. However, the investments that are made today are not enough - Sweden will not achieve its climate goals at the current rate of development. With the project Choices for the climate, IVA wants to contribute with a holistic perspective on the climate issue to help decision-makers weigh up different alternatives, while at the same time strengthening Swedish competitiveness. IVA focuses on the following questions: What technical measures are required on a system level, to meet the climate targets? How much more electricity and biomass are needed to replace fossil energy and fossil resources? And how should politics work to achieve the climate goals? The project's summary report, “How Sweden will reach its climate goals”, is based on other reports, studies and public statistics already published. Seven main strategies that IVA has identified for Sweden to achieve its climate goals are outlined, including the need for more international cooperation, the need to share and mitigate economic risks so that the necessary technology shifts can be made, and the need to ensure access to electricity and a secure electricity system. The report is available in Swedish.
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01 Jan Innovation System of Slovenia SLO – Comparative Analysis of Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovations of Slovenia (156 pages) SLO

Engineering Academy of Slovenia (IAS)
2020
Analysis of educational system in Slovenia and Research, development and innovative achievements of Slovenia has been for a decade an annual task and receives and generates substantial interest from interested parties. In 2020 it focused on innovation system, higher education in Slovenia, on research and development activities and in Slovenia and compared to other EU states.
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