You sold out.
General Electric this week announced that it will work with a consortium of companies on AIRE, the Atlantic-Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions, a European initiative to reduce aircraft emissions through better flight path management. Under the project, GE Aviation will provide a flight management system that provides flight details over four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time. Humans live generally in a 3D world but many philosophers have conjectured about beings (and now computers) that perceive existence in four dimensions. There's your metaphysical tip for the day.
A trial kicks off in Stockholm later this year and will run for 10 months. The company estimates that it could save 100 kilograms of fuel per flight.
The key is that a lot of the technology comes from Naverus, a startup GE bought last year. Naverus has been around for a number of years -- it was part of the Foundation Capital portfolio -- but under GE's wing, the technology seems to be taking flight. GE and the Federal Aviation Administration will invest $66 million to implement GE's technology in the U.S. by 2015. Called CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise), this is the first federal investment in America to accelerate green aviation technologies.
Steve Fludder, the vice president of ecomagination at GE, last month said that aviation would play a big role in the next five-year plan for the group. The sprawling conglomerate will spend $10 billion on research and development for products for the ecomagination group over the next five years, doubling the $5 billion spent in the inaugural five years of the program.
"It is a cost savings to the airlines and it is a huge comfort factor for customers," said Fludder. "These are the kind of IT-enabled solutions we will invest in."
Get bought, get customers, make everyone happy. As we've said before, in the green space, Silicon Valley will serve as the farm team for the conglomerates.