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I invite any knowledgeable person to comment on my perception of Europe:

Space: Distant Third behind United States and Russia. Japan and China can potentially surpass Europe. major institutions: ESA.

Software: Most of the software I buy is American made. India and China are low cost alternatives to America. major companies?

Hardware: The pacific region has all the powerhouses: Europe?

Robotics: Japan, USA, Korea... Is Europe even trying?

Alt. Energy: Numero Uno.

Biotech: Europe and America are virtually tied, but the long term edge goes to Europe because of an anti-science mindset in America.

Could someone name some European companies or institutions that are nearly world leaders in future technology?

by Coriolanus on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 12:01:18 PM EST
Jeremy Rifkin is someone has been and is a huge proponent of Europe, and I believe he may have some interesting answers to yours (and others) questions.  Here is the website to his foundation:

Foundation on Economic Trends

http://www.foet.org/JeremyRifkin.htm

I'll contact him/them, and see if they have any interest in dialoging with us, or have references/resources to suggest

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 12:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Space - Europe world leader for commercial space with Arianespace and lead likely to increase with Galileo, which is private sector run, as opposed to the Pentagon-run GPS.

Software - good position. SAP (Germany) n°2 worldwide. France second exporter worldwide after USA

Hardware - not high tech, now a commodity.

Robotics - I am sure the Germans are building the machines that help manufacture the robots...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 12:35:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coriolanus,

Space: as others mentioned, Arianespace is the leading commercial launcher. A lot of space probes you may know as a NASA probe are actually NASA-ESA(+ others) coproductions (even the Hubble Space Telescope). Europe has the technological edge in some future technologies, like ion drives. On the other hand, note: in space technologies, there is almost always international cooperation, so establishing who dominates is not a straightforward exercise.

Software: "Buy" is a keyword: European-based Linux is free, and increasingly applied worldwide even with Micro$oft's dominance. SAP was also mentioned; let me mention that the best anti-spy-software (Ad-aware) and the most popular anti-virus software (Antivir) is German.

Hardware: hardware is less important than its main constituents, semiconductors. In that field, Europe has three companies in the revenue top ten (just as many as Japan or the USA): Infineon (German), Philips (Dutch), STMicroelectronics (French-Italian).

Robotics: hell yeah, there is. But more practical-oriented (not Asimos or robot football).

Alt. Energy: indeed, except for photovoltaics - but Europe is about to overtake Japan even in that. In this field, world leaders are: Vestas (#1), Enercon, Gamesa (among the next 5), in effect GE Energy's subsidiary (developing and producing in Germany) in the wind sector, RWE, Isofoton, BP Solar, Shell Solar, Q-Cells, Photowatt are some of the large producers.

Europe also dominates or is level with far Asia in passenger ship building, in mobile phones (Nokia; Ericson, Siemens and Alcatel), in bridge building (in this field the US's technological fall-behind is the most apparent, and tough most construction is in Far Asia - specifically China - a significant part of that by Europeans), in tunnel building (TBMs: Herrenknecht, Wirth-NFM), (not so much to my happiness) in car building (you should know these companies), (to my limited pleasure: not enough orders) in train and railway construction (Siemens, Bombardier's most factories, Alstom), and of course in passenger plane production (Airbus).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 04:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RWE, Isofoton, BP Solar, Shell Solar, Q-Cells, Photowatt are some of the large producers

...of solar cells.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 05:41:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree with your observation about the US falling behind in bridge building and other infrastructure areas. It seems that bridges are no longer seen as legacy projects, but as simple conveyances.

There was recently a large row in San Francisco around the replacement of the Bay bridge. They ended up raising tolls to pay for the more beautiful, advanced design; but it was amazing how many people just wanted to throw up any old bridge design to speed traffic.

I lived in Boston  while the Big Dig was nearing completion. It was messy, noisy, inconvenient, and wasteful; but the final project seems quite amazing. I have only been back once recently, but I am dying to go drive it. It is almost certain that a similar project would not even get off the drawing board today. In the current environment too much of our highway funds are spent on museums and rest stops to fund truly amazing feats.

"Where there is no vision the people perish" (Prov. 29:18)

by toad on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 12:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Robotics: Japan, USA, Korea... Is Europe even trying?

Me:
Robotics is not high technology, it is a commodity for manufacturers.

World's largest robot manufacturers are either Japanese (Daihen, Denso, FANUC, Kawasaki, Yaskawa) or European (ABB, COMAU, KUKA, Staubli and Valk). ABB is huge engineering company, it has sold over 100K robots in its history. German KUKA is third largest in the world. US leading producer is FANUC (140K installed) but it is actually Japanese-US co-operation. Rest of US suppliers are peanuts.

As far as use of robots is concerned, US is not terribly developed as far as manufacturing is concerned. (number of robots in use per 10000 people employed in manufacturing industry in 2003):
322 Japan (not comparable to others)
148 Germany
138 Korea (not comparable to others)
116 Italy
99 Sweden
93 EU (I think is is for EU15)
78 Finland
72 Spain
71 France
63 USA
54 Austria
53 Benelux
50 Denmark
39 UK
36 Australia
24 Norway
15 Portugal
12 Czech Rep

The Japanese peak was in 1998 so perhaps the 300+ robots per 10000 manufacturning workers is some kind of natural limit?

by Nikita on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 04:26:59 AM EST
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