March 24th 2016

Infineon Austria and Management Center Innsbruck to set up joint research laboratory in Innsbruck. Innovation project for multicopter already marketable.

Infineon Technologies Austria and the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) are strengthening their scientific cooperation, and have today signed a two-year cooperation agreement. Their partnership has already led to a successful innovation project: the market-ready multicopter system solution.

The successful cooperation between Infineon Austria and MCI has already been in place for two years in the fields of research and development, teaching, student projects and internships, and this has now been reinforced by means of a cooperation agreement. The agreement was signed today by Sabine Herlitschka, CEO of Infineon Austria, and Andreas Altmann, Rector of MCI, in the presence of Bernhard Tilg, the member of the provincial government of Tyrol with responsibility for science, and Christine Oppitz-Plörer, Mayor of Innsbruck. Within the framework of this agreement, Infineon and MCI intend to set up a joint research laboratory on the site of the Entrepreneurial School® in Innsbruck, which will take the form of an emerging applications lab. Amongst other things, the lab’s work will focus on upgrading existing technologies for use in applications in global markets. Infineon Austria will make EUR 500,000 available for this in the next two years.

The positive synergies between Infineon and MCI are already bearing fruit: a student project supervised by experts from both establishments has resulted in an Infineon system solution for multicopters being taken from the concept study to market-readiness within a very short time. “The project, which embodies the exchange of ideas and skills between industry and the academic world, is an impressive example of both the creative potential of students and teachers, and also the speed and professionalism with which innovation projects are initiated, acted upon and implemented at Infineon Austria,” said Sabine Herlitschka, emphasising the market-oriented nature of the approach in line with actual requirements. She went on to summarise the objective of the cooperation on the basis of two key pillars: “Viewed overall, our cooperation with the university location o Innsbruck – on the one hand in the context of our endowed professorship in power electronics at the University of Innsbruck, and on the other hand through our cooperation with MCI – is an active contribution to practice-oriented research and teaching, as well as to increasing the number of trained technical specialists in Austria.”

A further aim of the cooperation is the joint creation of courses of study and the integration of Infineon’s key areas into research and teaching. With its researchers, teachers and students, MCI is able to contribute the corresponding prerequisites here in terms of a good mix of professionalism, lateral thinking and the courage to try new things. “Research cooperation between industry and universities, encompassing joint projects and innovative study concepts, can help to achieve competitive advantage, strengthen Europe as a scientific location, and increase the quality of academic teaching and career opportunities for students and graduates”, stated Andreas Altmann, emphasising the benefits of application-oriented cooperation between research and industry.

International innovation project from Austria: Market-ready solution for multicopters
One result has already been achieved in terms of developing reference designs for Infineon, in the form of the world’s first multicopter to be controlled by means of Infineon microcontrollers. It contains a total of 53 Infineon components, largely developed in Austria. The first prototypes of this successful Austrian innovation project have already been presented to customers and experts in Asia and America with great success. “ This makes us the only manufacturer capable of offering such a complete system for this strongly growing market”, said Siegfried Krainer, head of the Technologies and Innovation/Power Management and Multimarket Division of Infineon Austria, who initiated and managed the project within the framework of his teaching activity at MCI.

In practice this project looked into whether the XMC series microcontroller produced by Infineon – a chip with integrated interfaces for measuring and controlling industrial applications – might also be suitable for controlling quadcopters. As well as the flight control systems and drive technology, this also involved integrating ultramodern sensor technology. MCI project manager Ronald Stärz explained: “In just a few weeks, within the framework of jointly supervised lectures and student projects as well as supplementary scientific inputs, we were able to achieve the complete kinematic modelling of an aircraft of this kind, the sensor system used to stabilise its position, and the control technology and software required for flight.” Michael Kraxner, head of research and technologytransfer at MCI, added: “As an Entrepreneurial School® we are able to contribute our strengths such as a practical approach, application-oriented research and development, and great flexibility. MCI and Infineon both derive equal benefit from this efficient cooperation.”

Enormous market opportunities
The multicopter sector offers enormous growth opportunities in both the logistics sector and the private segment; it is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide, with annual growth rates of 28 percent forecast in the medium term. However, Infineon is not going to construct any multicopters itself in the future, but intends to sell the semiconductor components, both individually and as a complete system solution. Further development activities will centre around the synergy effects of these developments: “We are going to undertake further work with a strong focus on engine controls and autonomous flight. Multicopters are very good ‘carriers’ for highly efficient engine controls and technologies for autonomous flight, such as our time-of-flight 3D camera sensor or radar sensors”, said Siegfried Krainer, outlining the next steps.
These topics amongst others will also form part of the further cooperation between Infineon Austria and MCI. This constitutes a clear signal with great potential for the future successful interplay of research, teaching and science, and thus for the strengthening of Austria as an industrial location.

About Infineon Austria
Infineon Technologies Austria AG is a group company of Infineon Technologies AG, a worldwide leading supplier of semiconductor solutions to make life more simple, secure and more environmentally friendly. Micro-electronics by Infineon reduces the energy consumption of consumer electronics, household devices and industrial installations. It contributes considerably to the comfort, safety and sustainability of vehicles and provides secure transactions in a connected world.

Besides Germany, Infineon Austria is the only site capable of meeting competencies for research & development, production as well as global business responsibility. Its headquarters is based in Villach, further branches are located in Graz, Klagenfurt, Linz and Vienna. With about 3,500 employees (1,300 of whom are in research & development) from around 60 nations, the company achieved a turnover of €1.4 billion in the 2015 fiscal year (ending in September). Infineon Austria is the most research oriented company in Austria with a research quota of 25% of the total turnover.

About Management Center Innsbruck
Founded 20 years ago, MCI Management Center Innsbruck now has 3,000 students, 1,000 teachers, 200 partner universities and thousands of successful graduates and employers worldwide, and has become an
international benchmark and sought-after partner for research, teaching and further education.

With its unique concept of the Entrepreneurial School®, MCI occupies a leading position in the international education landscape. Positioned at the interface between a university, a university of applied sciences, a polytechnic, a grande école and a business school, it combines the best from several systems and stands for scientifically based problem-solving expertise, innovation, an international approach, a close relationship with the business world and practical relevance.

MCI constantly achieves top places in surveys and rankings, confirming its position as an international benchmark. Thanks to its excellent reputation, MCI is highly attractive to students, teachers, researchers, partneruniversities and companies throughout the world.

Further information

pdfJoint Press Release Infineon - MCI
pdfQuadcopter – Article in "Innovation in Tirol"

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