Open Italy: Leonardo and innovative start-ups together to develop technology projects and solutions

20 May 2022

The programme promoted in collaboration with the ELIS consortium, will enable the development of 5 projects by 5 start-up companies. The topics, which range from energy-saving applications for Leonardo's supercomputer, to Davinci-1 and gamification, set out to raise employee awareness on sustainability issues. 

The aim of OPEN ITALY – the innovation ecosystem of the ELIS consortium now in its sixth year, in which Leonardo has been actively involved since 2019, is to foster dialogue and collaboration between big enterprises, start-ups, SMEs, research centres, venture capitalists and young talents through the development of highly innovative projects. The open innovation project, which is part of Leonardo's strategy of opening up to collaborations with external realities, confirms the company's desire to strengthen its technological and sustainable leadership by drawing on the best available skills possible.

2021 saw the participation of 374 start-ups, 40 of which were of particular interest to Leonardo. Upstream of the selection, the company identified its business needs, i.e. approximately 50 priority topics, which were the basis for Leonardo’s selection of the start-up candidates and proposed solutions. Dedicated one-to-one meetings and workshops with the participants were held before the official presentation, of the selected co-innovation projects which took place in May

Projects selected in 2021

In 2021, five co-innovation projects (POC - Proof of Concept) were tested five start-up companies. The winning projects were:

  1. Sustain Able (Start-up: Up2You)
    Implementation of a gamification platform to engage company employees on the issue of sustainability.
  2. Fast AI 4 Object Tracking (Start-up: EYECAN.AI)
    Testing of technology solutions for AI-supported vision systems to identify and track objects moving at different speeds on conveyor belts.
  3. HPC Consumption Optimization (Start-up: MODELWAY)
    Testing, through a micro-service-based cloud &edge infrastructure , of a simulation model to forecast the energy consumption of the Davinci-1 HPC, Leonardo's supercomputer, and the building where it is housed, with the objective of optimising the structure’s energy savings.
  4. SkillGym X Leonardo (Start-up: SkillGym)
    Testing of a Digital Role Play platform for the development of soft skills through critical discussion. The aim is to “train” employees using interactive videos, behavioural metrics, and adaptive training patterns.
  5. Supercap FAT (Start-up: Captop)
    Study of supercapacitors and their role in the electrification of aircraft. Supercaps can play a crucial role when working with highly-dynamic, high-peak loads.

This collaboration with innovative start-ups to support research and development will continue with OPEN ITALY 2022. With this in mind, Leonardo has already identified approximately 80 business needs, as well as the first three start-ups with which the company will be developing the collaboration projects.