Airbus has published its shortlist of candidates for its 2017 ‘Fly Your Ideas’ innovation program after “unprecedented participation.”
This year, 5,499 students from around the world registered to participate in the global student challenge organised through partnership between Airbus and UNESCO.
The students were asked to present proposals to address five key challenges for aviation: business models, flight operations, passenger experience, design engineering, and manufacturing.
The ideas presented by the teams which move on to the next round include robotic luggage trolleys, passenger seats which can be boarded outside the aircraft, new solutions for energy harvesting and virtual reality applications.
A group of 60 Airbus experts and innovators at four different Airbus locations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK assessed the ideas submitted by 356 teams from 89 countries. The teams selected for the short list will go on to Round Two of the competition, starting in January 2017.
Diverse Global Teams
The teams selected reflect Airbus’ commitment to diversity, which Airbus and UNESCO view as an “essential driver for innovation and success.” The 50 teams chosen are made up 202 students representing 38 different nationalities. 52% of teams include male and female students, and two-thirds of all teams are diverse in some way, with members from different countries or studying different subjects.
“We need more young people both men and women, from every background and of every profile to acquire the skills the world needs to solve our greatest global challenges, as well as realise the potential of new opportunities,” says Flavia Schlegel UNESCO’s Assistant Director General of Natural Sciences. “With Fly Your Ideas 2017, student teams are working towards prototyping their ideas and gaining a thorough understanding of how to tackle real-world challenges through a rich learning experience.”
Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering says of the competition: “Fly Your Ideas is unique and we are proud of the company-wide engagement of Airbus employees who support the competition, either as assessors, mentors or experts. We are offering students the rare opportunity to interact directly with senior specialists from across the business. In turn, these experts will benefit from their direct interaction with talents from across the globe, all sharing the same passion for one of the world’s most exciting industries.”
ProtoSpace and Beyond
The teams now have 100 days to refine and further develop their ideas. Their progress will be documented as sketches, stories and photos posted to the innovation program’s dedicated site www.airbus-fyi.com.
Five teams will then make it through to Round Three. These students will spend a week at the “ProtoSpace” based at the Airbus HQ in Toulouse where they can prototype, test and visualise their ideas using state-of-the-art equipment under the guidance of Airbus staff.
The winning team will receive a €30,000 prize and the runner up will receive €15,000 during a special awards event in May 2017.
Since the launch of the ‘Fly Your Ideas’ competition in 2008, more than 15,000 students have registered to participate, from over 600 universities in more than 100 countries around the world.
Featured Image: UNESCO and Airbus representatives launch the 2017 Fly your Ideas Competition © AIRBUS S.A.S. photo by Master Films /A. Doumenjou