Airbus Group and Local Motors have launched a global co-creation challenge to identify the next generation of commercial drone technology.
The two companies are inviting amateurs and professionals alike into a joint project that includes a series of co-creation activities, online competitions, open-source projects and hackathons all focused on designing a next-generation commercial drone solution.
The first part of the Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge, which launched today, seeks specifically to identify designs for drone aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and efficient forward flight. The challenge is taking place on Local Motors’ innovative co-creation platform, and the full details and technical specifications of the challenge can be found here.
Part of the inspiration behind this challenge is to identify better ways to transport medical supplies when time is of the essence and a life could be hanging in the balance. Imagine a doctor deep in the jungle having the ability to order urgently needed drugs from a hospital 100km away.
“As Local Motors and Airbus Group progress in this challenge, we expect our co-creation community to deliver the kind of amazing ideas that helped us build the world’s first co-created vehicle and 3D-printed car,” said Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers. “As we harness the power of the crowd, Airbus will have the ability to iterate on commercial drones faster than ever before. This will be a much-needed shot in the arm for civil drone development.”
This initial co-creation challenge will run through June 5 and offer $117,500 in total prize money. The evaluation of each entry will be conducted through a jury of experts in the field before potentially becoming part of an industrial program from Airbus.
“The Challenge initiative is really exciting and we are eager to see how the power of co-creation can accelerate new, innovative thinking around commercial drones,” said Jana Rosenmann, Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems within Airbus Group.
Assisting Local Motors and Airbus Group on this challenge is Praxis Aerospace Concepts International Inc. (PACI), which will bring its deep, technological experience in commercialization of robotics and unmanned systems to the project.