Airbus Group NV is setting up a network of technology laboratories to reduce the time it takes from innovative ideas to commercial aeronautical applications.
The Airbus planemaking subsidiary has invested 400,000 euros ($434,000) in the first such lab at its headquarters in Toulouse, France, with similar so-called aerospace accelerators planned for Hamburg in northern Germany and Bangalore in India, Airbus said today.
Inventions that previously often came from the defense sphere are now increasingly being hatched in the consumer- electronics space, prompting Airbus to create a broader set-up to foster ideas. The new program will draw on employees and suppliers and give them six months to develop and test their concepts.
“What’s driving innovation is no longer defense, but consumer goods, things like the iPhone.” said Yan Barbaux, chief innovation officer at Airbus. “We need to adapt and see how best to use these kinds of technologies.”
Determining who owns the intellectual property rights will be done on a case by case basis, the company said.
About 15 projects have been chosen at the first site. Innovative thinkers will get help from coaches and mentors in technology, law, finance and marketing. Mentors will be available from outside companies including Coca-Cola Inc. and Google Inc. About one in ten ideas presented is accepted.
One idea now being studied in Toulouse is improving the security of commercial airliners that for now are sealed in a labor-intensive process while parked on the ground.
Instead, Airbus is developing sensors installed on vulnerable points of entry such as passenger and cargo doors to monitor possible intrusion in real-time. Testing on planes will begin in coming days, and Barbaux said he expects the technology to hit the market within the year.
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This article was written by ANDREA ROTHMAN from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.