Global aviation and aerospace giant Airbus is set to benefit from Formula E technology provided by Williams Advanced Engineering after agreeing to explore potential areas of technological collaboration.
Under the terms of a newly signed Memorandum of Understanding, the two companies will examine applications that may combine Williams’ innovation culture, lightweight composites and battery expertise with Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme.
Zephyr is a record-breaking, solar-powered, unmanned aerial system – or drone – with unique communications and surveillance capabilities. It will fly at more than 65,000 feet above commercial air traffic for months at a time. The first production examples are being manufactured at Farnborough for the UK Ministry of Defence.
As sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E championship since its inception, Williams Advanced Engineering’s battery technology has been tried and tested, and its world-leading expertise in electrification has become core to the business. 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.
“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,” said Airbus’ Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems, Jana Rosenmann.
“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 outlined the aims of the partnership, saying: “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.”