Sky’s the limit for new innovation from EIT Digital innovation action reduces aircraft wire harness and pins

BloggausAs part of the EIT Digital Advanced Connectivity Platform for Vertical Segments (ACTIVE) activity, the Polytechnic University of Milan has successfully developed a technology transferrable into systems reducing wire harness and pins entering the fuselage and compartments in helicopters and airplanes. The University is now working with an aircraft manufacturer to implement the technology commercially.

Manufacturers of avionic systems have long looked for more efficient and less expensive ways to collate and transmit flight-critical data. The solution developed by Polytechnic University of Milan is based on existing data transmission technologies, sensors, and data concentrators.

Together they perform a data pre-processing function that both reduces the data rate and aggregates the compressed data into a unique data stream. This stream can then be transmitted by wireless or wired transmission technologies or a combination of the two.
The university’s research was carried out as part of the Advanced Connectivity Platform for Vertical Segments (ACTIVE) EIT Digital High Impact Initiative programme.

The focus of the ACTIVE project is to create a connectivity platform where sensor systems are integrated into the general cellular network. By doing this, the platform creates an end-to-end (E2E) network, which could be applied to a range of different sectors including healthcare and transport.

Maurizio Magarini, Assistant Professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Politecnico di Milano explained: “Our goal was to create a generic connectivity and middleware platform to support application developers for different key sectors without having to construct a new set of software layers for each new application. This means that developers can then focus their efforts on developing their applications to the benefit of their chosen sector.

“The technologies we’re applying to avionics systems promise to dramatically reduce the number of wires, cable harnesses, connectors and pins in the fuselage and elsewhere in the aircraft which makes the system more efficient and reduces costs. This work has benefited tremendously from the ACTIVE programme which provided the perfect environment to turn our concept into a workable application.

The system developed by Polytechnic University of Milan is based on the existing technologies for data transmission, sensors, and on a data concentrator. Together they perform a pre-processing for reducing the data rate and aggregate the compressed data into a unique data stream. This stream can be transmitted by wireless and/or wired transmission technologies.


University’s research has been made possible by its partnership with EIT Digital. This opened access to the innovation work done in the context of the EIT Digital High Impact Initiative program called ACTIVE, or Advanced Connectivity Platform for Vertical Segments. The partnership helped the University also to find a commercial partner for the technology development among the EIT Digital ecosystem members.

The ACTIVE innovation activity is focusing on creating a connectivity platform where sensor networks are integrated into the general cellular network. By doing this the platform creates an engine-to-engine (E2E) network for supporting applications made for different verticals, such as healthcare and transport application segments.

 “The goal is to create generic connectivity and middleware platform including security to support application developers for different vertical segments without having to redo the whole network stack. Thanks to this, the application developers can focus their efforts towards the application in the vertical segments”, Maurizio Magarini explains.

About Polytechnic University of Milan

Polytechnic University of Milan (Politecnico Milano) is the largest technical university in Italy, with about 40,000 students. It offers undergraduate, graduate and higher education courses in engineering, architecture and design. The Polytechnic University of Milan is an EIT Digital partner. For additional information, please visit: www.polimi.it/en/ 

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