Industry leaders join forces to accelerate innovation and shape the future of urban air mobility

Airbus, a global leader in aeronautics, defence & space and related services, and HAX, the world’s most active early stage investor in hardware start-ups, have joined forces to explore the future of urban air mobility through a four-month accelerator programme based in Shenzhen, China.

“Transportation in megacities needs fresh ideas to improve the way we live,” says Mathias Thomsen, Urban Air Mobility General Manager at Airbus. “We believe that adding the vertical dimension to urban mobility will improve the current congested megacity transport systems.”

“Airbus’ technical expertise and insights are a perfect complement to our capabilities,” says Duncan Turner, Managing Director at HAX.

Airbus, in partnership with HAX, will help bring these ideas from prototypes to market faster and accelerate the pace at which it can commercialise innovative ideas to shape the future of urban air mobility.

The collaboration will be an exclusive four-month urban air mobility acceleration programme at HAX’s world-class premises in Shenzhen. Early-stage start-ups focused on developing technologies that address the following challenges are invited to apply: 

•    Urban air transport vehicle technology;
•    Aerial sense and avoid technology;
•    Airport runway and landing detection systems;
•    Emergency safety technology for airborne vehicles;
•    Infrastructure for airborne transport vehicles;
•    Autonomous airborne vehicle technology;
•    Aerial manoeuvres decision making and support systems;
•    Air traffic management systems;
•    Aerial collision detection and avoidance systems;
•    Battery packaging and management systems for airborne vehicles.

Selected applicants will receive a minimum up-front investment of 100,000 USD, as well as technical guidance and hands-on help from both Airbus and HAX experts to turn prototypes into a reality. Business expertise will complement engineering talent to ensure the sustainability of the projects.

“Innovation has always been a part of Airbus’ DNA and is crucial to keeping Airbus at the forefront of the aerospace industry,” says Luo Gang, CEO of Airbus’ new innovation centre in China. “We are elated to launch this first call for start-ups— another tangible action demonstrating Airbus’ commitment to developing innovation projects here in China. We look forward to seeing some disruptive ideas soon.”

Applicants from around the globe are encouraged to apply now. More information about the program can be found here.


About Airbus
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, defence & space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of € 67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, and is one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

About HAX
HAX ( is the world’s most active early stage investor in hardware startups. Its portfolio of over 200 companies include innovators in consumer, health, enterprise and industrial sectors. Startups from HAX have raised millions from top-tier investors such as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen-Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and Xiaomi, and millions more in crowdfunding (with 11 of the world’s top 100 Kickstarter campaigns). HAX and its startups have been featured worldwide in Forbes, WSJ, The Economist, Nature, TechCrunch and the hit WIRED documentary “Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley for Hardware” with over 1 million YouTube views.

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Ning (Kevin) Jia

External Communications - Airbus China