Sikorsky Innovations holds the Entrepreneurial Challenge to highlight and support revolutionary ideas, ventures and innovators whose technology is highly relevant to one of its identified focus area.  Each focus area (outlined below) represents current company technology needs for production aircraft and processes.
 
Sikorsky is looking for agile technology leaders across all industry domains that embody the entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and management style to complement the qualities of an established industry leader. The company encourages individuals or teams incubating new ideas around the globe, whether working in a garage or in a Fortune 500 company, to apply.
 
Focus Areas 
 
1. Aid for Operations in bad weather
 
Background – Vehicle operations in complex, adverse environmental conditions, including weather, increase the complexity and difficulty of completing tasks safely and successfully. Solid, dense clouds of particles, including rain, snow and dust are particularly hazardous as it shortens sight distances and obscures obstacles. Whether cars, trucks, or helicopters, the ability to ‘see through’ a cluttered environment and safely guide a vehicle through it would be highly valuable.

Requirement – Similar to how videogames take complex information and reduce it to small user displays for easy interpretation and rapid action, a solution is sought for processing and interpreting disparate data to create a singular ‘picture’ of the outside world to aid vehicle operators in adverse conditions. Displayed in the figure to the right, a solution does not need to include the sensing elements of the system. Rather, we are interested in advanced virtual environments or world models which can build on a priori and data sensed in real time. The system, which may include algorithms, software, and/or display technology, should capture and translate data to display it for operator use.

 
2. High performance structures
 
Background – Similar to racing and performance automotive products, Lockheed Martin current and future products, including Sikorsky’s commercial vehicles, rely upon advanced material technology to continually increase performance and reduce weight. Such technologies include additive, hybrid metallic, composites and fastenerless. Many of these new materials have unique joining and building requirements, in addition to the need for novel inspection technologies to ensure structures are built and joined properly.

Requirement – Unique construction and joining methods for high performance structures and/or technologies that enable the ability to inspect or categorize these structures once they are built. New construction/joining methods should enable geometries not currently possible to manufacture or an increase in a significant performance metric by at least a factor of two.

3. Control methods for dynamic unstable flight 

Background - As a leader in the aerospace industry, Lockheed Martin conducts conceptual design and rapid prototyping on advanced vehicle configurations that include complex control interactions, including dynamically unstable flight. As part of that research, a key question is how to continually simplifying control systems and methodologies for these unique vehicle designs that operate in evolving environments. As the company looks beyond 2025, opportunities to mature these advanced vehicles require new solutions and insights into advanced control theory.

Requirement - Whether hardware, software, controls, or a combination therein, technologies are sought that enable novel lifting surfaces, dynamic changes to the shape of flight control components, systems that employ integrated approaches to reduce weight and cost and/or designs that manipulate the surroundings or physical phenomenon to enhance control authority in flight vehicles.

4. Real time insight into factory performance 

Background - Sikorsky is one of the largest aerospace manufactures in the United States. Alongside advances in aircraft technology, the company is also making significant investments in our digital manufacturing capabilities. As IOT devices and technologies continue to expand into consumer markets, there are significant opportunities to industrialize those same technologies to provide cost and lead time savings in a manufacturing environment. Such environments include the Factory 4.0 model.

Requirements - Algorithms, technologies or processes that leverage existing infrastructure and data flows to create new insights into complex, geographically decentralized work flows, enabling significant cost savings across the manufacturing process and/or significant lead time reductions in parts and systems creation.

 
Dateline for submission: September 21, 2018 5 p.m. EST
 
Source: Sikorsky Innovations
 

Illustration Photo: Sikorsky CH-53K (credit: Lockheed Martin)

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