Altran engineering partner of Solar Impulse 2

11 March 2015

The Solar Impulse has taken wing on its 35,000 km journey to circumnavigate the world. The plane will spread the importance of thinking in terms of renewables, while showing off humanities engineering prowess, made possible by various partners to the enterprise, including Altran, Bayer, Google, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Swisscom.

Flight, presumably since she first saw the eagle soar or on spotting the ducks flying low at dusk, has been held aloft as dream of mankind. Featuring strongly in the imagination of the Ancient Greeks in the Myth of Icarus, where, on attempting to escape Crete on wings of feather and wax – contrary to his father’s stern warning – Icarus flew too close to the sun and, with the wax melting, plummeted to sea. From Leonardo’s fantastical winged innovation to when flight was first pioneered at the start of the 20th century, man’s fascination with flight continued. Today of course, for a small fee and a large carbon step, a flight almost anywhere in the world can be arranged.

Solar Impulse 2

Yet innovation continues to develop the dream and, in line with Ferdinand Magellan’s pioneering spirit to be the first to circumnavigate, the latest attempt has taken wing. This time however, the challenge is to be the first to circumnavigate the world in a body propelled only through the light of the sun; this time then, humanity seeks to be lifted by a Solar Impulse – with a crash into the sea now a faraway contingency.

After 13 years of planning, the Solar Impulse SI2 a few days ago took wing from Al-Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi. With the first leg in its 35,000 km journey, a short 12-hour “shakedown cruise” to Muscat, Oman, and yesterday the Solar Impulse SI2 successfully landed on schedule in Ahmedabad, India. If all goes according to plan, the journey will be completed in Abu Dhabi in June or July.

The Solar Impulse project is led by Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, who also co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop. The impulse for the project is to raise awareness of the importance of renewable energy as well as spur further technical development. "Our primary purpose is not to revolutionise aviation, but the way in which people think about energy and clean technologies", says Piccard. "The world would be able to save up to 50% of the current consumption of fossil energy and produce half of the rest with renewable energies", if the technology involved were deployed on a massive scale.

Solar Impulse Partners

The technology involved in keeping Solar Impulse in the air is impressive. The plane itself is a single-seater aircraft, made of carbon fibre, and has a 72-metre wingspan — making it larger than that of the Boeing 747 — it has 17,000 solar cells built, and weighs 2,300 kg. Its batteries are charged during the day allowing it hold what the sun gives to fly at night. The plane features ultralight materials and energy savings, including greater reliability and performance of electric motors, efficiency of solar cells, and the energy density of batteries.

Engineering and consulting partners
The project is being supported by a wide variety of industrial, engineering and consulting firms, including Masdar, Solvay, Omega, Schindler, ABB, Altran, Bayer, Google, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Swisscom. “As Innovation Makers, our job is to provide unconventional solutions to problems of singular complexity. Solar Impulse is an excellent opportunity for sharing our passion for innovation on such an inspiring scale. Although some thought the project unfeasible, our first assessment showed a solution was possible. Confident in our approach, we set out to challenge the ambitious objectives”, remarks Christian Le Liepvre, who is in charge of the Solar Impulse partnership at Altran. “Sharing common values of expertise, performance and passion is right at the heart of Altran’s participation in the project.”

“Solar Impulse was not built to carry passengers, but to carry messages. We want to demonstrate the importance of the pioneering spirit, to encourage people to question what they’ve always taken for granted. The world needs to find new ways of improving the quality of human life. Clean technology and renewable forms of energy are part of the solution,” adds Piccard.



Grey Consulting and Makerversity announce strategic partnership

05 April 2019

Grey Consulting has forged a new alliance with Makerversity, a 500-strong community of the brightest creative innovators, headquartered at Somerset House, London. The partnership hopes to tap into the experimental community to develop pioneering solutions for Grey Consulting’s clients.

In August 2018, one of the world’s largest design agencies surprised the business world by launching a dedicated consulting outfit. The news came as the two industries continued on their trajectory towards a historic synthesis. The consulting industry has been engaged in a pitched battle with the advertising and design space for the past few years, as the former increasingly encroaches on the territory of the latter via a protracted campaign of mergers and acquisitions; but there had been little traffic moving in the other direction.

At its launch, Grey Consulting was not billed as a direct competitor to established consultancies. However, the firm behind the new entity hopes that its creative experience will give it a competitive edge in winning consulting business from its existing clients. The Grey Group is a global advertising and marketing agency with headquarters in New York City, and 432 offices in 96 countries, operating in 154 cities. Grey Consulting opened its doors with a view to aiding clients within the areas of business and brand design, innovation and digital transformations.Grey Consulting and Makerversity announce strategic partnership

Now, as the firm looks to further expand its footprint in the market, Grey Consulting has unveiled details of a ground-breaking new alliance with Makerversity, a 500-strong community of creative innovators headquartered at Somerset House, London. The alignment with Makerversity is hoped to unlock the potential of collaborating with one of the world’s most experimental communities.

Makerversity curates and convenes the best talent across product design, fashion, art and experimental architecture, sustainable materials, IoT, digital manufacturing, and coding. It provides spaces and workshops for professional makers to develop and create their work, supported by Somerset House Trust. The alliance is expected to enable Grey Consulting to develop pioneering solutions for its clients, together with innovators who make something amazing for a living, every day. 

Leo Rayman, Grey Consulting CEO, commented, “This gives our clients the potential to access a network of some of the most diverse and innovative individuals in the world today. Being so tightly connected to a community of makers means we don’t just develop transformational strategies but can quickly realise them in three dimensions. This sets Grey Consulting apart from the pure play strategy houses who are sometimes criticised for not making their thinking real at the pace modern businesses require.” 

Fiona Dent, CEO of Makerversity, added, “Makerversity acts as a catalyst for unexpected encounters, fostering collaborations between an incredible range of the brightest leading creators and innovators. Our experimental approach and engaged members, whose own practice is defining our world, create highly original new outcomes. We are delighted to bring this philosophy to a wider audience and generate interesting projects for Makerversity members through our partnership with Grey Consulting.”