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The Antoine de Saint Exupéry name provides the IRT with an important vision

90ans_gc_fdaIRT Saint Exupéry recently took part in celebrations for the 90th anniversary of the aviator’s arrival in Toulouse, where he was a pioneering pilot, flying with Latécoère and the Aéropostale airlines. Held on 14 October at the Cité de l’Espace, the event was organised by the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation and attended by Francois d’Agay, nephew and godson of the aviator-author. IRT president Gilbert Casamatta took the opportunity to unveil the IRT’s robot Twirtee to the general public for the first time. Twirtee is designed as a demonstrator for embedded systems for the aerospace and automotive industries.

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A name that gives meaning to the IRT

This is how Gilbert Casamatta described the choice of the historical name that continues to inspire young people today. Its use for the IRT both inspires pride and represents an important vision.

The IRT’s fast growth – with 300 people recruited in three years – has brought together people from very different backgrounds: big groups, SMEs and start-ups, PhD and postdoctoral researchers, university supervisors and academic researchers. The name Antoine de Saint Exupéry gives them a common set of values – humanity, engagement and pioneering spirit – those of a man who knew how to move mountains. The IRT has also been able to showcase a less well-known facet of this extraordinary man – his skill as an inventor, which led to him filing 11 patents some of which contribute to innovations still in use today in aviation. In 1939, French national centre for scientific research CNRS even wrote to him stating that his experience as inventor, engineer and pilot would be very useful for its own scientific research work.

90ans_gc_fda-passeportEach month the IRT holds a meeting for new employees during which it promotes Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s values as those it wants them to adopt for themselves in carrying out their daily duties. They are also given a special ‘passport’, modelled on the writer’s own passport, designed in conjunction with the Saint Exupéry – d’Agay Estate. This document symbolises their journey with the IRT, for a month, three years, or more and makes them a lifelong member of IRT Saint Exupéry.

At the event, Francois d’Agay spoke of the closeness and understanding between the IRT and the Estate. “I am pleased by what we have achieved together,” he added. “If the name Antoine de Saint Exupéry can continue to inspire researchers into the future then it has been time well spent.

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A first public appearance for Twirtee

90ans_gc_twirteeTwirtee the robot, who is designed to look like the Little Prince’s fox, played his part in a fun and educational presentation by Gilbert Casamatta on the embedded systems found deep inside cars, aircraft or satellites. The robot is evaluating collaborative engineering methods that are set to improve transport safety. Equipped with five processors and an anti-collision system, Twirtee is capable of running very complex programmes. For the future, other new projects will benefit from this technological resource and it will also be used for training support.

François d’Agay, Gilbert Casamatta (IRT Saint Exupéry), Martine Saint-Martin (espace Saint Exupéry), Patrick Farail (IRT Saint Exupéry) et Mohamed Fadhel Sassi (IRT Saint Exupéry).

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