This year’s Global Superyacht Forum is focusing on smart solutions, therefore for the keynote presentation on day one, we’ll not only be looking at other sectors for inspiration but up towards the sky.
Frank Salzgeber is head of the Technology Transfer Programme at the European Space Agency (ESA), who are directly responsible for taking innovations designed for space travel and applying them to industries back down on earth.
Salzgeber is a passionate advocate of innovation and start-ups, championing technology from ground-breaking designers and smaller intuitions, “When I started, we supported seven new start-ups a year. Now we have 130 and will support 150 by the end of 2017,” notes Salzgeber, who began life as an industrial engineer, moving to Apple and other IT companies before joining the ESA, ““If you’re asked to work with astronauts, you do not say no!”
Every-day features of our lives are the result of space-based innovation, “One technology you are hopefully not using is the airbag in your car,” says Salzgeber. Highlighting how common space inventions are in different markets, Salzgeber explains the process of how the technology makes its way into general use, “Many light weight structures have been used first in space, then in aviation, and then in normal applications. Fly by wire, fuel cells and solar cells. Your weather forecast, your TV broadcasting, navigation devices and oversea calls are all using space based infrastructure.”
Surprisingly, Salzgeber reveals that his field can be cautious when introducing new technology due to the inherent danger of space travel, “The space industry is conservative as failure is not an option!” It is for this reason that technology from the ESA is used so widely when it is produced, the vigorous testing ensures only the most effective products come to fruition.
Salzgeber’s presentation will touch on familiar discussion points and contentious issues currently within the superyacht market. Using his experience within the commercial shipping environment, Salzgeber notes how technology from space could vastly affect the day-to-day running of the vessel,” Crew costs $3,299 a day, which accounts for about 44 percent of total operating expenses for a large container ship. Just imagine the impact of autonomous ships.”
As outlined in his TED talk, Salzgeber truly believes in looking further afield to move technology forward, “Sometimes, you need just a bit more space to see new opportunities.”
The Global Superyacht Forum will take place from 14 – 16 November in Amsterdam. Amels, Awlgrip, Caterpillar, Clyde & Co, Marlink, MARSS, MTN (an EMC Company), MTU Friedrichshafen, Palladium Technologies, Triton Submarines, Van Berge Henegouwen (VBH) and Yachtsure24 are official event partners of the Global Superyacht Forum.