On Friday Christian Campo and myself visited a startup company in Kassel, Germany.
They design, program and manufacture what they call intelligent autonomous vehicles, the next generation copters. The idea is that the hexa-copters can be used for unmanned surveillance missions that needed way more expensive methods in the past: One example that Joerg Lamprecht, the CEO of the company describes involves these vehicles inspecting building status or taking high-precision arial photos.
As with all the other manned or unmanned vehicles I’ve been dealing with lately, these machines rely heavily on the software that comes with them. While there’s a whole bunch of other issues like robustness, weight and construction, the big challenge is to provide software that doesn’t need an experienced pilot to fly around a building and take head-photos.
Logically, the company has a couple of cool software developers to provide a platform system for the copters that integrates all access to navigation, flight control, camera adjustment and such. On the other hand they are very interested in developing apps that can be used on top of the platform. These apps could be maneuvers such as loopings or turns, or it could be even more complicated tasks like ‘fly around this building in a spiral and measure it’.
Time was flying by, and just before we had to leave Joerg took us to their manufacturing hall to see a bunch of young kids building the copter platforms. After the visit I was wondering what the banks and insurance companies have to do in the future to keep their developers from running away and doing cool stuff like Aibotix is doing.
Both Christian and I look forward to the arrival of the IoT!
Day One turns out to be very interesting, despite of being pretty tired from jet lag.
Earlier today a panel discussion how communities should be managed and treated with a lot of insight from very experienced community managers, then introduction to GENIVI project and initial workshop work. While most of the questions we are supposed to work on have obvious and simple answers (“YES”, “NO”), developing the reasoning in the group shows a large bandwidth of experience and opinion.
The keynote of the day came from Chris Vein, who is CTO for Innovation in the Executive Office of the President. The most interesting talk was on Open Governance, what the different departments are doing to innovate the way they are serving (and want to serve in the future) the individual citizens of the country. He gave a couple of examples from NASA to the department of food and drugs how open source empowers the government agencies. I hope that the talk will be available for public consumption soon. It will certainly give other organizations an idea how far OSS is already spread throughout the governments of the world.
Now I’m listening to the next case study presented by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs – an open source project comprising a full-blown system for large hospitals.
Looking forward to more!
Just came back from Paris, where I’ve spent the last tow days. We were invited to present Polarsys to the Chess, an Artemis funded research project.
I came across quite a few of these projects lately, some of them funded by the EU, some of them funded by Artemis, ITEA or some other agency that I knew or didn’t know. And all of them seem to do some sort of the same thing. At least that what it looks like to me. When I ask, they try to explain to me what makes them so different.
Anyway, many of them seem to spend considerable time on stuff that others have already build or are in the process of building. Some platform components here, some persistency frameworks there. And neither I nor they know if they can use the other project’s results, because they just don’t see them.
If I’m right with my assessment, then we look at a huge waste of taxpayer’s money here. How could this be stopped? Really simple: The funding agencies just need to tell them that they need to develop in open source. Creates visibility as well as accountability. Or is that a problem?
The small village in the mountains had a problem. While the farmers had to work hard to do the fields, they had no space left to have their cows out during the day.
So the solution they decided on was that some of the public wasteland of the village was turned into a pasture where they could all have their cows grassing during the day before they had to take them home to the farms.
That was a brilliant solution: Not only had they all shorter ways everyday with getting the cows in and out, but they also could share the cost for a boy watching the cows.
They also decided that they would get together regularly and see what they need to do keep things going, and they also decided that they would share the cost for the boy and the work around the pasture.
All worked well, and all the farmers were quite happy. But after some time the butcher of the village came along and said that he would like to see that the cows should be treated differently to make the meat leaner. But since he would not own cows he didn’t really feel that he should participate in supporting the shared effort of the others.
The farmers talked about it for a while and then came to the conclusion that the butcher should pay the same as they would for the common. While he was not directly using the pasture he was still a beneficiary of the improvement, and he also wanted to give direction on how to use the pasture.
They wet back to the butcher, and after some discussions he understood that it would be to his advantage if helped to his business if he would help to improve the common.
Everybody in the village lived happily ever since.
Also check out Elinor Ostroms’s work.