What do they do? (Part 4)

5 examples of what EU research and innovation projects have done for you lately

The quiet, clean plane

For many European citizens, the airplane is a vital tool which allows them to enjoy freedom of movement, affordably and quickly transporting them to friends and family, and shrinking Europe to a manageable size.

However, this form of transport carries a heavy price in noise and air pollution. And with air travel expected to increase at a time when we need to be reducing our emissions, this is a problem.

In order to overcome these problems, the EU is trying to modernise air travel. The European Clean Sky initiatives are developing cutting-edge technologies aimed at reducing emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft. It works towards Europe’s ‘Flightpath 2050’ targets of a 75 per cent cut in CO2, a 90 per cent reduction in NOx and a 65 per cent reduction in noise.

Part of this modernisation lies in the increasing digitisation of transport – which brings benefits and risks. The DIAMONDS project is seeking to address vulnerability to cyberattack. It has developed a new security testing methodology for software networks such as those found in transport, and successfully demonstrated and evaluated it in eight industrial settings. Similarly, Rapita Systems has developed a new tool, RapiTask, to test safety-critical software in aircraft, space vehicles and cars.

Beyond software, in seeking to reduce the impact of terrorist bombs, such as the Lockerbie disaster, the FLY-BAG2 project has invented and fully tested a 'bomb-proof’ bag. This light but resistant bag limits the impact of an explosion on-board an airplane.

On a structural level, liquids arising from spillage, condensation or rainfall during boarding can result in the heavy corrosion of parts. This is particularly the case for the floor structures in the passenger cabin. The AISHA II project developed a reliable sensor for detecting such liquids through sensing the alteration in a variety of signals passed through the structures of the aircraft. The Boeing aircrafts of Lufthansa are now equipped with the sensor networks.


Scenario forecasts for European air traffic through to 2050. Number of flights (IFR Movements ) under four scenarios: ScA Scenario A (Global Growth); ScB Scenario B (Regulated Growth); Scenario C (Happy Localism); ScB Scenario D (Fragmenting World).