March 7, 2006 6:31 AM PST

EU backs 'invisible computing' research

The European Union wants member states to back an industry-led $3.24 billion research program for embedded computer systems that control household appliances, consumer gadgets and cars.

Embedded systems, which are hidden from the user and cannot usually be manipulated or reprogrammed, are found in virtually all electronic equipment used today, from wireless telephones and DVD players to cars and airplanes.

The Advanced Research & Technology for Embedded Intelligence and Systems (Artemis) program consists of 20 tech and automotive companies--including Daimler-Chrysler, Nokia and STMicroelectronics--that claim increased investment in embedded systems is vital to Europe's industrial competitiveness.

A fifth of the value of each car produced in the EU is due to embedded electronics, a value that is expected to rise to about 40 percent by 2015, creating 600,000 new jobs in the EU automotive sector alone, according to Artemis.

Viviane Reding, European commissioner for Information Society and Media, said Monday in a statement that Artemis is the best way for European companies to take advantage of economies of scale and meet ever-increasing research and development costs.

"Artemis shows us an excellent way forward to face the research challenges in embedded computing systems over the next 10 years," Reding said. "It should be open to all players, and it is crucial that it accelerates the pace of innovation."

Professor Yrjo Neuvo, Artemis chairman and senior technology advisor at Nokia, said being able to develop increasingly complex software and networking is of "paramount importance" to Nokia and the whole mobile sector.

"The tools and design methods to be jointly developed as part of Artemis will enable us to increase the functionality of mobile devices to meet future customer needs without sacrificing usability or operating times," Neuvo said in a statement.

Artemis has set a target of raising a combined public-private research investment of $3.24 billion (2.7 billion euros) between now and 2010 with funding from industry, the EU and member states.

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
embedded system, European Union, investment, Nokia Corp., car

5 comments

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OS/2 On Power...
... could be a very suitable alternative should EU countries now embarking on "'invisible computing' research" not wish to take the long route towards developing an alternative to the Windows Operating Systems:

More on: OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition

"What was OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition like? An unfinished product, rough around the edges but simultaneously technically very interesting and advanced and showing promise"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://pages.prodigy.net/michaln/history/os2ppc/index.html" target="_newWindow">http://pages.prodigy.net/michaln/history/os2ppc/index.html</a>
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Security?
I wonder how much thought is going into making it very difficult for troublemakers to hack into, infect, or harm embedded systems? I'd think this danger will only increase as companies start using the same sources for this technology.
Posted by rshew (44 comments )
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I aggree
I totally aggree. When something becomes a "standard" the hackers will eventually use it against us. (example, Internet Explorer)

I really think they (the EU) should start to reconsidder.
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
Depending on situation, security is mitigated
Embedded systems are typically different from "general puropse computers" in that they have very limited access to how they can be operated and "updated". Most embedded systems can't be "hacked" because the only way to reprogram them is to physically remove ROM chips and replace them with chips of your own.

Embedded systems which run commercial OSs (Windows CE or a full linux install) and are connected to the internet would in fact be exposed to hackers. But there's a very small number of these kinds of embedded systems.

The DVD player in your living room for instance. Do you worry that it'll be hacked by an internet script kiddie? Or the software running your digital wristwatch. Is your watch vulnerable?
Posted by Richard G. (137 comments )
Link Flag
Hardening Of The "Security Layers"...
... is very much likely to help in mitigating security risks posed to embedded systems in products such as automobiles...; typical embedded systems installations are the "Banking ATM's" with OS/2, Windows Operating Systems among others installed. The assumptions are it may appear - are that the same will carry over to other devices running embedded systems!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
 

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