Leonardo launches student Drone Contest in Turin during Innovation Day, Crescendo. Naturalia - Artificialia

Turin   21 June 2019 14:25

  • New partnership with six Italian universities to develop skills on artificial intelligence for drones
  • The universities involved are: Politecnico of Turin, Politecnico of Milan, University of Bologna, S. Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, Tor Vergata University of Rome and Federico II University of Naples.
  • De Gennaro: “Innovation is a crucial element which secures our future and we should not fear it.”
  • Profumo: “Cross-fertilization, or bringing different skills together, is the winning strategy to foster innovative ideas and convert them into solutions.” 


Leonardo Innovation Day, Crescendo. Naturalia - Artificialia was held today at the OGR in Turin to promote the cross fertilization of ideas between humanistic and scientific disciplines. The event was named with a metaphorical reference to the Renaissance Wunderkammern, the "chambers of wonders" where the two worlds - represented by objects linked to nature (naturalia) and techniques (artificialia) - were skilfully mixed and shown. 

Innovation Day, Crescendo. Naturalia - Artificialia was the official launch of the Leonardo Drone Contest, a new project between industry and universities to develop skills in artificial intelligence for drones. 

The event was attended by the Mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino, the Piedmont Region Finance Councillor, Andrea Tronzano, Leonardo's President, Gianni De Gennaro, Leonardo's CEO, Alessandro Profumo, and the President of the Leonardo Foundation - Civiltà delle Macchine, Luciano Violante.

Gianni De Gennaro, Leonardo Chairman, stated: “Leonardo operates in a highly competitive and technological sector. To play a proactive role, a company must always welcome and be open to new challenges. Therefore, innovation is a crucial element which secures our future and we should not fear it.”

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, commented: “Innovative ideas are everywhere. For a company such as Leonardo that lives on innovation the winning strategy is to select, foster and convert ideas into solutions by encouraging cross-fertilization and collaboration between industry and academics.” 

The Drone Contest fosters the development of artificial intelligence and creates an ecosystem encompassing a global company, universities, SMEs, spin-offs and startups. Leonardo’s initiative is addressed to six major Italian universities: the Politecnico of Turin, the Politecnico of Milan, the University of Bologna, the S. Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, the University of Rome Tor Vergata and the University of Naples Federico II. 

At each of the six universities, Leonardo will support the activities of a PhD student who will devote themselves to the development of an autonomous system for three years, while using university and business resources and coordinating the technological research of these products: flight capacity, computer vision, sensor fusion, big data, computing skills, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Each year the teams will compete in a high-level scientific symposium, as well as in a competition to analyse the results achieved and the potential of the respective projects. Universities have welcomed the Drone Contest with great interest and for Leonardo this represents a worthy approach to innovation open to external influences.

The Innovation Day Crescendo. Naturalia - Artificialia, chaired by Massimo Temporelli, president and co-founder of The FabLab, brought together disciplines in a "STEAM" approach (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). The term "Crescendo", not surprisingly, recalls the world of music. The Turin initiative involved the musician, Davide Dileo, “Boosta”, keyboardist and co-founder of Subsonica (an Italian band), Andrew Quinn, digital expression expert and curator of the special effects in Matrix, Roberto Cingolani, Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology, and Paola Pisano, Councillor for Innovation and Smart City of Turin. They were all invited to address the topics on the basis of their respective expertise.