visibility_off Local Motors, Airbus Group working together to co-create commercial drones

Local Motors, Airbus Group working together to co-create commercial drones


A loved one desperately needs an organ transplant to survive. Every second could be the difference between life and death. But there is good news — you just received word that a donor organ became available 30 miles away.

If you live in a dense urban place, let’s say the Chicago area, for example, that organ’s 30-mile trip in an ambulance from one hospital to another could take two hours if traffic and weather are bad. But what if there was another way? What if you could secure that organ in an unmanned drone and fly it above all that traffic in a fraction of the time? That could save your loved one’s life.

That example is just one potential use case for Local Motors and Airbus Group as the two work together on a brand new project to co-create commercial drones. While the announcement of the new partnership comes today, the project itself will launch in April, and anyone can become involved.

This new crowdsourced form of teamwork between Local Motors and Airbus Group will take the form of an open competition. The Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge will offer the opportunity to identify and design the drone’s configuration, and an emphasis will be put on safety. This vehicle will be designed for civil purposes, particularly cargo transportation.

The starting design of this competition would be Airbus QuadCruiser’s hybrid concept, combining the VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) and hovering capabilities of the well-known quad-copter design with the speed and cruise efficiency of a fixed-wing aircraft by using an additional pusher motor.

airbus-quadcruiser-display-cebit-local-motors.jpgThe Airbus QuadCruiser concept debuted and flew in front of an audience at CeBIT 2016 in Germany.

The top selected projects will be reviewed before potentially becoming part of an industrial program. Attractive incentives will be awarded along with many opportunities for the top winners. More details will be announced on the project and the awards in April, and we’ll bring that info to you on this blog.

Airbus Group, one of the world’s top aeronautical manufacturers, was attracted to Local Motors because of the company’s expertise in global co-creation and local micro-manufacturing. For us, it’s a chance to expand upon the work we’re doing in direct digital manufacturing the 3D-printed vehicles.

“The opportunity to work with Airbus allows Local Motors to expand its proven co-creation expertise into the aerospace sector,” said Local Motors co-founder and CEO Jay Rogers. “When we harness the power of the crowd, we can innovate and iterate on products at a pace many manufacturers didn’t think was possible. We advance hardware at the pace of software.”

For Airbus, this new partnership provides an opportunity to challenge the status quo when it comes to product development.

“This partnership underlines the high interest of the Airbus Group to engage in the commercial drone segment, challenging traditional aerospace processes and driving our organization towards adaptability in this dynamic and rapidly growing market,” said Jana Rosenmann, SVP Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems at Airbus Defence and Space.

To stay up to speed on the project or participate in it, please sign up here.


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