Airbus UpNext focuses on flying future technologies at speeds well beyond what seems feasible today. In doing so, it is actively shaping the future of the aerospace industry.
Airbus UpNext’s demonstrators evaluate, mature and validate potential new products and services that encompass radical technological breakthroughs. It has three flagships locations in France, Germany and Spain, to rapidly develop and test future technologies in scaled applications.
Its mission is:
- To identify trends and technology concepts disrupting the future of aerospace - from both inside and external to Airbus - and evaluate them as potential viable products.
- To further accelerate traditional research cycles, developing proof of concepts and completing both ground and flight testing with scale and speed. Each demonstrator takes on the challenge to deliver critical learning within a two to three year time frame, engaging our people and partners with purpose.
- To develop real-world applications for emerging aerospace technologies, thereby driving maturation and value.
The people at Airbus UpNext keep one foot in the present and one foot in the future. They are solution-oriented, value-driven and come from different backgrounds and sectors. With a hands-on approach to bringing future technologies to life today, the people working at Airbus UpNext deliver value-add aerospace innovation by staying one step ahead.
The Airbus UpNext teams are 100% dedicated to the project they are working on while having opportunities to contribute and apply their savoir-faire to other areas across the organisation. In doing so they positively contribute to the Airbus innovation ecosystem, delivering innovations with meaningful value.
This three-year demonstrator project focuses on testing cryogenic and superconducting technologies to significantly boost the performance of electric- and hybrid-electric propulsion systems in future zero-emission aircraft.
This demonstrator develops, adapts and evaluates technologies enabling autonomous Air to Air refuelling in formation flight operations. It will consist of in-flight testing of the key technologies - focusing on three technological bricks that are accurate relative navigation, in-flight communication and cooperative control algorithm - in order to pave the way to a future autonomous assets air-to-air refuelling product.
This demonstrator is taking a modified glider up to 33,000 feet – an extreme altitude for an aircraft that normally cruises below 10,000 feet – to analyse hydrogen combustion’s impact on contrail properties. The result of this analysis will provide critical information on aviation’s non-CO2 emissions, including contrails and NOx, in advance of the ZEROe demonstrator flight testing.
eXtra Performance Wing
This demonstrator project focused on accelerating and validating technologies that will improve and optimise wing aerodynamics and performance for any future aircraft. Its applications would be compatible with any propulsion solution and aircraft configuration and would reduce CO₂ emissions, contributing greatly to Airbus’ decarbonisation roadmap.
This project demonstrates simplified mission preparation and control for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, reducing pilot workload using intuitive devices on the Airbus Helicopters Flightlab.
How Blue Condor will accelerate Airbus’ first hydrogen-powered test flights
Nature-inspired wing demonstrator completes wind-tunnel tests
Airbus increases its innovation footprint in Spain to develop new hydrogen technologies
This flight demonstrator project proves the technical, operational and economic viability of wake-energy retrieval for commercial aircraft. This concept of operations could make a significant impact on aircraft’s environmental performance, with at least a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions per trip.
The Autonomous Taxi, Take-off and Landing (ATTOL) project leveraged computer-vision technologies and techniques to successfully complete fully autonomous flight tests using a commercial aircraft. The project’s learning will be applied on future autonomous flight concepts.
E-Fan X is a major milestone on Airbus' decarbonisation journey. This first-of-its-kind demonstrator has provided invaluable learnings on serial hybrid-electric propulsion.
This programme aims to provide seamless smart routing in satellite constellations (LEO and GEO). Airbus UpNext TELEO will also boost ground-to-space communication data rates thanks to ultra-high-throughput optical links.
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