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Fly Your Ideas 2019: The Winner’s Story

Sep 30, 2019
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Meet Team ‘Zero’ Heroes: Niels, Sujay, Nikos and Ashvij. After three intense competition rounds spanning almost one year, the team was announced as the Fly Your Ideas winner at the award ceremony in Toulouse, France, in June 2019. But what is the story behind their success? We spoke to team member Niels to find out.

Niels says, ‘We are part of the same research group at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, and our research topic and personal interest overlapped. We decided to combine our expertise in a practical sense to enter the Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition.’ Their idea? An innovative batteryless wireless switch for aircraft systems.

The team were supported from the beginning by their Academic Mentor, Dr. Venkatesha Prasad, and from Round 2 by their Airbus Mentor, Adolfo Avila-Gutierrez, an A350XWB RFE & BF Airframe Architect. Niels says, ‘Our mentors were great to get an insight into which aspect or concept to focus on.’

Adolfo supported the team remotely from Airbus Spain until the final week in Toulouse, where the team spent several days building their prototype in the ProtoSpace. With design spaces for brainstorming and prototyping labs to bring concepts to life, the ProtoSpace provides Airbus employees and teams with the tools and inspiration to accelerate the evolution of new ideas.

In just three days, the ‘Zero’ Heroes were able to produce an impressive prototype. Looking back, Niels adds, ‘Don’t focus too much on getting the prototype to work. In the end, you’re selling a concept.’ On 27th June, along with the other six finalists, the team pitched their project to the Jury and live audience.

Describing his highlights of the competition, Niels said, ‘I enjoyed the social events together with the other teams. It was a lot of fun talking to everybody as the competing groups were very diverse. I also met an Airbus intern during my stay in Toulouse. When I went back to Toulouse a few weeks later, we met up again.’

What’s next for the ‘Zero’ Heroes? The future looks bright – and the work is not over yet, as a collaboration between Airbus and the ‘Zero’ Heroes may be in the pipeline! Their Academic Mentor said, ‘One possibility is to work with Airbus cargo aircraft for cargo holders. We are very eager to work with them! I am sitting on the edge of my chair!’

Stay tuned on our Facebook page for further updates on the Zero Heroes and all of the Fly Your Ideas finalists.

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