Companies see shared benefits from Zephyr and Formula 1-inspired innovation
Airbus global leader in aeronautics and Williams Advanced Engineering, the innovative engineering and technology business of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, are set to explore potential areas of technological collaboration.
The two companies will combine Williams’ innovation culture, lightweight composites and battery expertise with the Airbus‘Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program.
Zephyr is a High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) that fills a capability gap between satellites and UAVs. It is a record-breaking, solar-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS) with unique communications and surveillance capabilities. It will fly at more than 65,000ft, above commercial air traffic, for months at a time. Replacing one conventional UAV with just one Zephyr would save 2,000 tons of fuel each year.
With four decades of experience at the pinnacle of motor racing, where lightweight materials and structures are crucial, Williams is now developing these technologies and finding innovative solutions to weight saving.
Airbus Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems, Jana Rosenmann, said: “At Airbus we have enormous respect for Williams Advanced Engineering’s technical expertise and achievements, as well as for their impressive record in rapidly bringing new technologies and products to market. Our engineering teams are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the Formula 1 world and just as enthusiastic about sharing much of what we have learned in developing solutions to high-altitude, solar-powered flight.”
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering said, “Airbus is a name synonymous with innovation and technology in the industry. We are delighted to be working with them on this project, and hope to share some of our expertise in electrification, battery systems and advanced lightweight materials, as well as learn from their vast experience in aerospace. We are very much looking forward to working together on this project and hope learning from one another may continue in the future.”
In 2016 Airbus 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.
Airbus has two variants of the Zephyr designed to accommodate a variety of payload capacities. Zephyr S has the ability to carry payloads, offering voice, data communications both line of sight and beyond the line of sight high resolution optical imagery. The Zephyr T offers the ability to bring more active payloads to the fore; for example, widespread, persistent internet coverage to remote areas of the globe, and active RADAR.
About Williams Advanced Engineering Limited
In 2010, Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited began diversifying its operations, leading to the establishment of the Williams Advanced Engineering division. Combining cutting edge technology and the industry’s best engineers with precision and speed derived from four decades of success in the ultra-competitive environment of Formula One, Williams Advanced Engineering provides world class technical innovation, engineering, testing, manufacturing and operational consultancy services to the automotive, motorsport, defence, health and energy sectors.