Thinking out of the box: Airbus quest for new ideas

Using drones to guide birds out of the airport grounds...

Using drones to guide birds out of the airport grounds...

New ideas are always at a premium in a technologically-advanced industry like aviation.

And sometimes a bit of out-of-the-box thinking is just what it is needed, this is possibly what Airbus is looking to get by launching a number of initiatives aimed at 

For example, the "Fly your Ideas" competition, that has collected over 500 aviation-related ideas from students from all over the World. A €30,000 prize is at stake and we have already a list of 5 finalists from the Netherlands, Japan, China,  Brazil and the UK. 

The selected projects include ideas such as the use of drones to lead birds away from airport runways, an infra-red guidance system for taxiing aircraft, a system to harvest energy generated by the wings vibration to power in-flight electronics, another one to harvest energy during taxiing and a way to make trolleys more efficient in the collection and sorting of garbage.

The final winner will be announced on 27th May.

Airbus BizLab, another entrepreneurial initiative launched by the European aircraft manufacturer, has a different approach: it works more as a startup accelerator, with Airbus offering resources such as office space, test facilites, expert coaching and, perhaps most important of all, visibility and exposure to investors, as well as to the groups' own decision-makers.

The first call for proposals for the Airbus BizLAb opened in March and is focused on the fields of augmented reality and data analysis and digitalisation from an aviation-related angle.

Maybe some of these projects will eventually become a reality, as are already some of the small and medium sized companies that participate already in a joint programme between Airbus and the Aerospace Valley association of South-Western France. The aim of this initiative is to support, via direct funding or industrial partnerships, those projects that contribute to environmental improvements in the aerospace industry, for example through the development of technologies for aircraft noise reduction or fuel consumption efficiency.

In aviation, as in Lewis Carroll's famous "Red Queen Race scene on his book "Through the Looking Glass":  "you need to keep walking to stay in the same place...and you need to walk twice as fast if you wish to get somewhere else"!