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3D printing

Airbus piloting journey to clean aviation

Aviation manufacturer and emerging technologies innovator has ambitious sustainability and diversity goals.

Airbus has innovation in its DNA, and is recognised in the Technology Leaders Index as a pacesetter in emerging technologies and data — as well as its sustainability and diversity commitments led by chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini.

Research from GlobalData shows how company investments, partnerships, patent filings, investor reports and job recruitment history reveal significant investments in the areas of 3D printing, drones and robotics in particular, as well as putting significant innovation resources into 5G, AR, data analytics, AI and IoT technologies.

Airbus clean aviation
Airbus ZEROe concept aircraft formation flight.

GlobalData noted “Airbus invests a significant part of its total revenue on R&D activities to maintain its development methodologies at the highest level in the market, acquire technological components in support of the company’s differentiation strategy and the development of reusable product lines”.

Led by CTO and executive leadership member Grazia Vittadini, Airbus technology is also an aspiring sustainability and diversity leader. Vittadini fronts a consortium of aviation CTOs who pledged at the 2019 Paris Air Show for the sector to achieve net zero. In June 2020 Vittadini urged the sector to continue exploring new technologies including AI and quantum computing in a bid to create a climate-neutral industry, a goal that would only be achieved by developing the diversity of talent working in the industry — a cause she regularly champions.

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In September 2020, Vittadini helped launch three concept aircraft as part of the Airbus “zero emission” initiative to develop hydrogen-powered aeroplanes; the company has set itself a 2025 deadline to put a carbon-free commercial aircraft into service.

Chief information officer Luc Hennekens has been breaking down data silos and the Airbus Skywise open data platform project was designed to optimise internal operations, help enhance the flying experience and supply chain so Airbus IT matches the innovation and R&D ambitions of the manufacturer.

Edward Qualtrough

Special projects editor

Edward Qualtrough is special projects editor for Tech Monitor.