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FEATURE: Six of the best UK and European engineering events this summer

Joseph Flaig

Cardiff Racing competing at Formula Student 2017
Cardiff Racing competing at Formula Student 2017

It is that time of year again – emerging blinking into dazzling sunshine after months of frigid grey skies, we hear the sound of an ice cream van and suddenly our minds leap to the months of summer ahead.

Weddings, festivals and holidays might clutter social calendars, but the engineering and technology schedule is equally packed.

Conference season has already begun, and there are countless more opportunities to meet, greet, buy, sell, learn and network in the UK and Europe before winter rolls around again.

Here are six of the biggest and best events – we will be at some of them, so maybe see you there!

Hannover Messe, 23-27 April, Germany

Billed as the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology, the scale of Hannover Messe is staggering – started to boost post-war economic development in 1947, the event now hosts a full 5,000 exhibitors and 220,000 visitors.

Digitisation will transform factories around the world in years to come, and the conference will explore some of the key technologies involved, including automation and new low-energy systems.

Hannover Messe comes early in the season, so there are only a few days until it starts –

VR World, 22-23 May, London

Car companies designing new models in virtual reality and trips down simulated Crossrail tunnels were just some of the intriguing applications we saw at VR World in London last year.

This year looks set to be equally fascinating – popular topics are likely to include Virgin Galactic’s use of mixed-reality technology, and cyber warfare in augmented reality. 

Organisers pledge to explore VR’s impact beyond gaming, so attendees can be sure of in-depth, practical discussions on useful industry topics –

Brain Bar, 31 May – 2 June, Hungary

This eclectic and ambitious event in Budapest tackles more than just engineering and technology, calling itself the “biggest European festival on the future”. Discussion topics posed by organisers include “Would you control robots with your mind?” “What if Hyperloop is a hypermistake?” and “Can we teach AI morality?”

Speakers include SpaceX co-founder Peter Thiel, Dávid Lakatos from 3D printing pioneer Formlabs… and Sophia, a wisecracking humanoid robot and the “world’s first android citizen,” developed by Hanson Robotics.

Concerned or curious about how advanced technologies will change the world? Brain Bar could be for you –

London Tech Week, 11-17 June, UK

Hosted in venues including town halls, conference centres and international embassies around the capital, this sprawling crowd-sourced festival has hundreds of events.

The UIM F1H20 powerboat world championship in the Docklands will draw crowds eager to see drivers compete in the 250km/h vehicles, while the TechXLR8 event in the nearby ExCeL centre will explore technologies including autonomous cars and the Internet of Things.  

“Hackathons” rub shoulders with large-scale conferences during the week. Take a look at the diverse schedule –

Formula Student, 11-15 July, UK

The 20th iteration of this esteemed engineering event is set to be better than ever, with an exciting new element and a UK team defending the title.

Cardiff University clinched overall winner at Silverstone last year, telling us it was down to new fuel, extensive data collection and more advanced aerodynamics

This year, the IMechE event will also have a driverless element for the first time – some teams will develop software to enable an artificial intelligence car to make its own decisions, and evolve to improve its own performance.

A total of 130 students teams will take part, with spectator tickets available to watch the young engineers compete –

IoT Solutions World Congress, 16-18 October, Spain

Since first picking up hype several years ago, an explosion of start-ups and major investment from big firms has transformed the Internet of Things into a collection of rapidly maturing technologies.

At last year's congress in Barcelona, popular topics included frictionless smart city transport, predictive accident prevention and automated missions to Mars, while the sector’s experts set out predictions for the future of our hyper-connected world.

Coming late in the season, a full list of speakers is not yet available for the event, but the website has plenty of other information –

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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