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ESA and AI Sweden Open Space Lab in Gothenburg

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 21, 2022
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SOLNA, Sweden (Swedish National Space Agency PR) — AI Sweden and the European Space Agency, ESA, will open a lab for advanced technology development, Φ-lab Sweden (pronounced as the Greek letter “phi”), for AI in new space applications and applications for Earth observation. The lab is first out as a spearhead lab within a major European collaboration on space innovation and will be inaugurated in the spring.

The lab brings together industry, investors and researchers to strengthen the European space research and space industry sector in what is known as Earth observation and AI. This work is complemented by the work that takes place in the Swedish Space Data Lab, which includes the Swedish Space Agency, Luleå University of Technology, RISE and AI Sweden.

What attracted ESA to Sweden is AI Sweden’s knowledge and the cluster that works with an AI technology called edge learning. The technology creates the opportunity to train AI models directly in e.g. satellites. This saves money and resources because you do not have to send the massive amount of data that the satellites collect down to earth.

“It is incredibly gratifying that we get such a large investment in space and AI to Sweden. We look forward to working with ESA to strengthen Europe’s and Sweden’s innovative power in the space sector,” says Martin Svensson, Co-Director AI Sweden.

With the help of satellite data, AI can, for example, identify floods, illegal fishing, deforestation, algal blooms and environmental disasters.

“We are very happy to start the first point of contact for ESA lab-labNET, and I see the partnership as an excellent opportunity to work very closely together. AI Sweden will give our researchers access to their resources, and we also share ESA Φ-lab’s knowledge and experience. The agreement is not only mutually beneficial for ESA and AI Sweden, but will also help keep European transformative innovation at the forefront of AI in space,” says Géraldine Naja, Director of Commercialization, Industry and Procurement.

AI Sweden and ESA will collaborate on current research resources, funding and infrastructure. The lab is the first to be established within a larger network of Φ-labs that ESA is planning. The lab is based on the work within ESA’s research center for Earth observation, ESRIN, and aims to develop innovative technology and make it available to the market.

About AI Sweden

AI Sweden is Sweden’s national center for the application of artificial intelligence. The center is supported by the Swedish state as well as business and the public sector throughout the country. The core of the work is to accelerate the use of AI in Sweden with the goal of strengthening Swedish society, competitiveness and increasing the quality of life for all people living in Sweden.

About ESA’s work with Φ-lab

As part of the Boost Green and Digital Commercialization priority in its Agenda 2025 strategy, and based on the experience from the existing Φ-lab @ ESRIN with its focus on delivering transformative innovations that can be made available to market, ESA is creating a dynamic network of Φ-labs across ESA and Europe. Φ-lab @ Sweden is the first to be established within this larger network. Read more at