The Humane AI Flagship will develop the scientific foundations and technological breakthroughs needed to shape the ongoing artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. The goal is to design and deploy AI systems that enhance human capabilities and empower both individuals and society as a whole to develop AI that extends rather than replaces human intelligence. This vision fits very well into the ambitions articulated by the EC in its Communication on AI but cannot be achieved by legislation or political directives alone. Instead it needs fundamentally new solutions to core research problems in AI and human-computer interaction (HCI), especially to help people understand actions recommended or performed by AI systems. Challenges include: learning complex world models; building effective and fully explainable machine learning systems; adapting AI systems to dynamic, open-ended real-world environments (in particular robots and autonomous systems in general); achieving in-depth understanding of humans and complex social contexts; and enabling self-reflection within AI systems. The focus is on human-centered AI, with a strong emphasis on ethics, values by design, and appropriate consideration of related legal and social issues. The HumanE AI project will mobilize a research landscape far beyond the direct project funding and create a unique innovation ecosystem that offers substantial return on investment. It will result in significant disruption across its socio-economic impact areas, including Industry 4.0, health & well-being, mobility, education, policy and finance. It will spearhead the efforts required to help Europe achieve a step-change in AI uptake across the economy. The preparatory action consortium, with 35 partners from 17 countries, including four large industrial members, will define the details of all aspects necessary to implement a full Flagship project, and mobilize major scientific, industrial, political and public support for the vision.