Aerospace giant Airbus is teaming up with early stage investor Hax to hunt for startups with a new accelerator programme based in China.
The firms want to find companies that will help shape "the future of urban air mobility", including the likes of autonomous airborne vehicles, which Airbus is exploring itself, having introducing a flying car concept earlier this year.
And Mathias Thomsen, urban air mobility general manager at Airbus, said today that transport in megacities "needs fresh ideas to improve the way we live".
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The four-month acceleration programme will be based at Hax's offices in Shenzhen.
Airbus is looking for early-stage startups from across the globe that are developing tech to address challenges such as airport runway and landing detection systems, air traffic management systems, and emergency safety tech for airborne vehicles.
Selected applicants will receive an up-front investment of $100,000, along with technical guidance from both Airbus and Hax to progress prototypes into a reality.
“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, chief executive 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.”
Airbus has been upping its presence in China, aiming to establish a greater foothold on the world's fastest growing aviation market.
Last week, it announced the opening of its Chinese completion and delivery plant for A330 jets, saying they were the most popular wide-body aircraft in the country, with nine airlines using them.