High fliers: Surrey team reach final of Airbus competition

A team from Surrey University has been shortlisted for the finals of Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas challenge, a biennial global student competition with a top prize of €30,000.

Surrey’s Team SkyVision propose turning a commercial airliner into an ‘Earth Observation Device’ by installing equipment into the belly of the aircraft to monitor ground activity during flight, thereby providing an alternative to satellite imagery.

Other concepts to make the finals include a method to improve aircraft taxiing, new ways of boarding via an app, new areas for luggage storage, and a new business model using existing Airbus aircraft.

The finalists represent nine different nationalities and eight universities across Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific, and are drawn from disciplines that include engineering, natural sciences and business.

Their ideas were selected from over 350 entries in Airbus’ competition, run in partnership with UNESCO. Students’ ideas had to answer one of five challenges identified by Airbus to provide sustainable future solutions.

The five finalist teams – from Australia, France, Hong Kong, Nigeria and the UK – will soon travel to Toulouse, France, where they will spend a week at the Airbus ProtoSpace facility to prototype, test and visualise their ideas using advanced equipment with personal guidance from Airbus.

At the end of their week at Airbus, the students will present their projects and the newly developed prototype in front of Airbus experts and personalities from the aerospace and academic world.

The final will take place on 17th May in Toulouse.

The ideas competing for the final prize are:

Team-SkyVision
Team-SkyVision

Airborne Earth Observation – Team SkyVision, University of Surrey, UK
A concept that turns a commercial airliner into an ‘Earth Observation Device’ by installing equipment into the underside of an aircraft to monitor ground activity during flight. An alternative to satellite imagery, it opens up new opportunities such as ecology analysis and urban planning.

Team Nevada
Team Nevada

Improving Airport Taxi Flow and Efficiency – Team Nevada, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
An airport taxiing system that uses sensors and algorithms for automated Ground Traffic Control, both in the tower and on the aircraft, to improve aircraft traffic at airports and thus reduce emissions.

Team PassEx
Team PassEx

Compact Luggage Strategy Mobile App – Team PassEx, Institut d’Administration des Entreprises – IAE Toulouse, France
A boarding system that uses a real-time mobile app to assign boarding status to passengers according to their luggage size. The Compact Luggage Strategy (CLS) addresses current storage issues in over-head compartments by distributing passengers across the aircraft according to the size of their baggage.

Team DAELead
Team DAELead

Private Stowage Compartment – Team DAELead, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
An aircraft cabin design that locates a Private Stowage Compartment (PSC) underneath passengers’ feet, utilizing the space between the cabin floor and the cargo ceiling.

Team Aquarius
Team Aquarius

A400M Aerial Firefighting Platform – Team Aquarius, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
A fire-fighting solution that incorporates modular systems using pressurised fire retardant containers fixed to fast-loadable pallets for a network of Airbus A400M aircraft, to create a system of aerial firefighting platforms that can be used for rapid wildfire suppression.