2017: students harness the latest tech and digital tools for Fly Your Ideas challenges and beyond

Dec 12, 2017

December is here, and we have been looking back on some of the highlights of the year – what a year 2017 has been! Following the launch of the 5th edition of the Fly Your Ideas challenge at Airbus’ Innovation Days in Germany in May 2016, 5499 students registered to take part, and an incredible 356 teams from 89 countries followed their passion for innovation and aviation and submitted an idea for the competition. This year, the competition focused on the big questions and opportunities that emerging technologies are bringing to the aviation industry, with the Fly Your Ideas challenges focusing on key themes around digitalisation and technology.

This time last year, a team of Airbus assessors were beginning the difficult job of deciding the top 50 teams, finally announcing their decision to the delight of the chosen teams from around the world. It was soon time for the Round 2 teams to introduce themselves to the world, via the Teamline, and the popular Teamline of the Week – a unique window into the development of teams’ ideas, and a chance to get to know these student innovators.

Ahead of the Round 2 deadline, some of our students enjoyed an extra boost of inspiration when they attended the Australian International Airshow. For others, a personal message of encouragement undoubtedly motivated teams to work even harder their responses to the Fly Your Ideas challenges, especially harnessing the latest technology to bring new thinking and creative digital solutions to these real-world industry issues. Responding to the enormous challenge of finding new and better ways to fly, students looked to Airbus’ own adaptation of emerging technology whilst developing their own innovative ideas. As they awaited news of who would go through to the final, teams had the chance to reflect on how much they had already learnt through taking part.

As the competition progressed to the final stages, 50 teams became just 5, and the finalists were announced in April. Our video competition winners, Team Garuda Ganesha from the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia impressed viewers around the world with an engaging and informative introduction to their project. As the 2017 Jury was revealed, the finalists looked forward to an amazing week of hard work, contact with experts and the chance to put their ideas to the test at Airbus’ ProtoSpace facility in Toulouse, France.

In the end it was Hong Kong’s Team DAELead who took the 2017 Airbus Fly Your Ideas crown in May, with their design for an underseat stowage compartment. However, all the teams were in agreement that the competition had been a positive learning experience for everyone involved, and a chance to work on real-world aviation problems alongside Airbus Experts from across the company. For their part, Airbus employees shared their enthusiasm for supporting Fly Your Ideas, saying that it was, “Really interesting to see ideas from outside Airbus.” and an “opportunity to think outside the box.” 

Finally, a message from a motivated Round 2 team member to everyone considering getting involved with future editions of Fly Your Ideas, “The competition is a great experience. Bouncing ideas around with the people from Airbus is highly inspirational and has given me many new ideas for entries in the future! We're going to get to the final next time!” Happy New Year to all our fans and friends from around the world.