Students from Delft University of Technology off to a flying start as winners of Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition

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Finalists of the 2015 Fly Your Ideas challenge by Airbus
© Fly Your Ideas / Airbus

Team Multifun from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands announced as winner of the fourth edition of Airbus Fly Your Ideas global student competition on 28 May 2015 in Hamburg, Germany. Multifun’s winning proposal is all about good vibrations, as the team proposes to dress aircraft wings in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. The biennial Fly Your Ideas competition, organized in partnership with UNESCO, aims to encourage the next generation of innovators and uncover future solutions for the future of flight.

The winners were announced during the Award Ceremony on 28 May 2015 in Hamburg, Germany, after all the five shortlisted teams presented their innovative concepts on 27 May 2015 to a prestigious jury of Airbus and industry experts led by Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering.

As well as receiving the coveted trophy, the winning team of students Sathiskumar Anusuya Ponnusami (team leader), Shashank Agrawal, Dhamotharan Veerasamy, Mohit Gupta and Ajith Moses received the top prize of €30,000.

Team Multifun’s winning idea is all about good vibrations. The team’s idea entails aircraft wings dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. Piezoelectric fibres gather electrical charges from even the smallest movements during flight, storing the energy generated in battery panels integrated in the fuselage and using it to power auxiliary in-flight systems, such as lighting and entertainment systems. This reduces the energy footprint of aircraft during flight and could even replace the entire power source for ground operations.

The five dynamic members of the all Indian team have been able to work 24 hours a day by interacting across physical boundaries from four different locations around the world, as they are based in India (Indian Institute of Science Bangalore), the UK (City University London), the USA (Georgia Tech) and the Netherlands (Delft University of Technology). Keeping very efficient interactions between them, the Multifun team members met physically for the very first time at the final round of the event this week, where they managed to present the most disruptive idea for the future of aviation.

Undertaking a very different approach from the winners, the runners-up were team Retrolley from University of São Paulo, Brazil. They gathered information from diverse aviation industry representatives and came up with a very practical and simple idea to implement a system that tackles waste reduction in-flight and cuts down the time taken to collect and sort rubbish post-flight, speeding up airline operations particularly for short-haul carriers. They share a prize of €15,000.

This fourth edition of the competition saw over 500 multi-disciplinary teams representing 3,700 students from 104 countries submitting innovative proposals addressing one of six challenges set out by Airbus for aviation in the 21st century; Energy, Efficiency, Affordable Growth, Traffic Growth, Passenger Experience, and Community Friendliness. Around 70% of the teams were made up of a mix of students from different nationalities, genders, and/or studying different subjects, and about half of the teams involved female students.

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