Wireless batteryless switches in airplanes, satellite imagery to combat illegal fishing and a detachable aircraft seat that converts to a wheelchair are just some the ideas that have progressed through to the final of the 2019 Airbus Fly Your Ideas student competition.
The seven finalists, announced on April 23, comprised students from 11 countries – Argentina, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Moldavia, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom.
The teams will travel to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse in June, where they will meet Airbus experts and have access to the airframes’s facilities to work on their projects.
Then, on June 24, they will pitch their concept to the Airbus Fly Your Ideas judging panel, with the event to be streamed live. The students are competing for a share of the 45,000 euros prize pool.
Airbus Fly Your Ideas began in 2009 and is run every two years.
It offers students an opportunity to work with a team of aviation professionals on real-world challenges, going beyond the aircraft itself. The competition is open to students of all nationalities and all disciplines – from engineering to marketing; science to design.
The competition was granted UNESCO patronage in 2012.
Airbus said about 270 teams from 72 countries entered the 2019 competition. The top five countries in terms of entrants were India (43 teams), China and Hong Kong (17), France (16), Iran (15) and United Kingdom (15).
The top 51 entrants were shortlisted in December 2018.
While no Australian teams were among the seven finalists, universities in this country have a strong record in this competition.
Follow the competition at the Airbus Fly Your Ideas website, where the seven finalists will be posting updates of their work ahead of their presentations to the judging panel in late June.
The seven finalists:
- University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) – Team AirFish
Idea: AirFish is an ocean monitoring system using satellite imagery and video imaging technology. It can help governments combat illegal fishing, reduce bycatch of endangered species, and generally decrease damages to the marine habitat. This project aims to improve the efficiency of fish farming, making food production more affordable whilst reducing open-water fishing and thus environmental impacts.
- Saarland University (Germany) – Team AIQinspect
Idea: AIQinspect will assist the human operator in performing rivet inspection by using Artificial Intelligence. Quality is predicted based on images and physical parameters while riveting in real time. The resulting information is communicated to the operator via Augmented Reality.
- Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) – Team “Zero” Heroes
Idea: Application of wireless systems in aircraft instead of traditional wired systems. This idea solves the main limitation for IoT in aircraft by removing battery integration – a current challenge for safety and regulation. Furthermore it reduces fuel consumption and weight while simplifying aircraft retrofit and maintenance needs.
- University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom) – Team Osprey
Idea: Replacing the traditional method of cooling electric motors with a water jacket or submerged cooling with a cooling system integrated inside the body of the motor itself. This project has the potential to provide mass effective motors for future Urban Air Mobility and Hybrid Electric aircraft.
- University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) – Team Seren
Idea: A novel method of electricity generation for spacecraft using trapped high energy particles. Using two concentric aluminium spheres, the energetic electrons flux from solar wind trapped in planetary magnetic fields can be collected and harnessed to generate power. This innovative approach aims to store and generate energy in deep space where the current density from sunlight is low.
- Technical University of Milan (Italy) – Team Move-ez
Idea: SWAN is an innovation that aims to revolutionize the air-travel experience of Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM) using IoT technology. It converts a redesigned class of detachable airplane seats into smart electric wheelchairs that passengers can use from check-in to arrival. It is fully controllable by smartphone through a dedicated app.
- National University of La Plata (Argentina) – Team V.A.C.A
Idea: VACA is an integrated service for stockbreeders, based on Earth observation, meteorological and IoT data applied to agriculture. VACA aims to provide actionable information to stockbreeders on quality and quantity of pastures, number of animals in paddocks as well as the physical condition of cattle.
VIDEO: An Airbus video launching the 2019 Fly Your Ideas from the student competition’s YouTube channel.