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AI, automation and ecology mark the future of the aerospace industry

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Under the name Skyforward, the first virtual job fair in the aviation and space industry was held in Germany on 22 and 23 May. This event, organised by the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), as described in this video a few days ago by Mario Wagner, General and Employment Director of Operations at Airbus and member of the Board of Directors of the company in Germany, was set up with a dual goal.

On the one hand, it seeks to encourage and become a forum to discuss hot topics that outline the future of this industry, such as the digital revolution, other subtopics of great importance such as the growing automation of the industry, the increasing importance of artificial-intelligence systems in decision-making and the need to reduce CO2 emissions from aeroplanes drastically. The other important issue is the demographic development we are witnessing, which is characterised by a reduction in skilled labour in Germany and its neighbouring European countries. Both scenarios require new actions to tackle the challenges faced by humanity, within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

On the other hand, the fact that BDLI chose this virtual fair format for the first time is due to our Business Development Head at meetyoo, Marie-Kristin Schwindt, who was able to respond to the needs of this association through the features of our digital platform. Specifically, this virtual solution, called ubivent, provides answers to the questions asked by Wagner in the previous video: “How can we better portray the role played by the BDLI? How can we provide access to persons interested in our industry to break the stereotype that aerospace is a somewhat closed industry? Lastly, how can we make a platform available to potential candidates so that they are able to show themselves as innovative profiles for companies in the industry?

Skyforward Mainhall

Virtual Fair Skyforward

At the forefront of technological innovation

One of the definitions of innovation in the field of technology could be the following: the creation of new products from scratch, or the modification of existing ones with the goal of fulfilling certain needs, or solving a problem before it, despite existing, is fully obvious to everyone. Something like this could be what happened to Orville and Wilbur Wright, whose big obsession with getting humans to fly was such that they achieved it in late 1903. Specifically, it was their 4 km aboard the Flyer what marked the start of what is today known as the aviation and space industry.

Over 100 years later, in the midst of what is already Industry 4.0 and in which insecurity and even chaos hang over the markets, companies are almost forced to transform their corporate culture, structure and technology if they want to come out successful and strengthened from this unstoppable digital revolution.

In this way, following the pattern of innovation, the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) has expanded its target demographic when recruiting new talent through this new virtual job fair. Not only have they sought graduates or traditional employees specialising in the field of aviation but they have also expanded the spectrum of potential candidates to other branches of engineering, employees from the world of information technology and experts in other research branches, such as laboratory chemists or other profiles in natural sciences.

Skyforward Virtual exhibition stand

Virtual Tradeshow Booth

Automation, electric aeroplanes and elephants

Concepts such as new human-machine interaction processes, data analysis, virtual trips or connected products were addressed in Skyforward, specifically during the presentation by Simon Krasowski, Vice President Digital Transformation at Diehl Aviation, titled “Change the game-fly digital!”. Krasowski tried to answer the following question: is the aviation industry preparing itself for these changes and how are innovations created and implemented?

Jörg Peter Müller, Head of Programmes and Strategy at Airbus and Subdirector of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) focused on another key issue raised by the media day after day, both nationally and internationally. We need to think about a sustainable and liveable future and it is our duty, specifically in the aerospace industry, to create aeroplanes that are emissions-free, efficient and sustainable. Furthermore, by 2030, 60 % of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, for which reason the challenge involves coming up with different transportation models that are safer and sustainable. Another point is progressive automation in the industry, for which reason the future of aviation also entails succeeding in extending the range of aeroplanes and introducing an electric variant to the market on a massive scale, due to it being more environmentally friendly.

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Impressions Skyforward

Lastly, a presentation addressing the hurdles to overcome in tackling the process of the digital revolution with hope and excitement on all fronts could not be missing. “Motivation for change and digitalisation” was the title of the presentation by Sine Sprätz, Head of Industrial Digitalisation at Airbus. For Sprätz, “emotions and trust are an essential part of the change process in the digital era”. In his abstract, he raises these two questions: “Why is willingness to change so decisive in the digital era? What will always lead us to overcoming the obstacle of the new?”. Don’t miss Sprätz’s response here because, it seems, an elephant has a lot to do with it or, at least, this is how he explains it in the first virtual job fair for the aerospace industry in Germany.

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