Behind the scenes with Beazley Designs of the Year nominees AVY

By Anna Kinneir

We are proud to announce that Makerversity Amsterdam members AVY have been shortlisted for the 10th anniversary of the Beazley Designs of the Year.

The Beazley Designs of the Year is an annual celebration of projects selected for their ‘outstanding contribution to design’ by an international panel of judges. The nominations very much reflect the signs of the times each year. Looking back it was the year in which Britain voted to leave the EU, Donald Trump became US president and 360,000 migrants including refugees arrived in Europe by sea. Physical, political and social displacement globally have been high on the agenda in many guises. In these moments innovative and meaningful design becomes even more important for building the backbone of our futures.

The team behind AVY have developed a self-flying zero emission family of craft for humanitarian purposes – with a particular focus on migrants at sea. Both the mission of the company and the design of the aircraft are hugely impressive and deserving of a stage like the Beazley Designs of the Year.

Last year Makerversity Amsterdam member Frank Kolkman won the Digital Design category for his project Open Surgery. It provides a do-it-yourself surgical tool to potentially support a more accessible alternative to the increasingly expensive health services worldwide. While Makerversity London member Unmade was nominated in the same category for their radical alternative to global knitwear manufacturing, using cutting-edge technology to produce unique one-off garments at the same price as mass production.

The other 61 nominations for 2017 from architecture, fashion, transport, and many other disciplines include Warka Water for those in need of safe drinking water, Waverly Labs’ translating earpieces and Calais Builds Project for short term refugee structures.

 

We caught up with AVY in our workshop to find out more from them about the nomination and their mission…

How do you define AVY?
Avy is a start-up founded from a vision. We want to make the planet healthier and therefore build emission free aircraft for humanitarian purposes.

What is your mission with AVY?
We want to ultimately create an electric self-flying personal aircraft.

Tell us a little about your team and how you are working to make this project fly (excuse the pun).
We are a group of young and enthusiastic engineers, designers and developers. We work here not because of the career or the salary but because we believe in the goal of the project and because this is our ‘young boys dream’. We work on the base of trust and openness. Everyone is free to do what they think is the most important thing to do.

Where did the idea come from?
Humanity has been spoiled for hundreds of years with the flying car. Nowadays, we see electric cars everywhere and attention is on the self-driving car. But, where is the electric self-flying personal aircraft?

In the design and development of AVY what have been you biggest breakthroughs?
We got a lot of offers from the military and other ‘not so good for the planet’-applications/parties. We are very happy with the fact that we stayed loyal to our inital humanitarian focus.

What has been the most satisfying moment of the project so far?
To wake up in a 5 star hotel in Dubai on the morning of a international drone competition that we had been selected to was really awesome. Especially after weeks of extreme hard work.

 The AVY is a very necessary innovation in light of recent years events; how quickly can you bring it in to action and what do you need to make that happen?
We found that to fly above water and in heavy weather conditions the aircraft needs a certain development, we are working on that part now day and night. To make sure we stay safe and stable in heavy winds we are therefore working on a new way of controlling the aircraft.

Can you share any stories / findings from your recent test flights?
We had some test flights last week where we flew faster than 105 km per hour.

What makes the AVY offer / technology / design unique?
We create a solution for many humanitarian purposes that is an immense lot more affordable than there alternatives (helicopters and airplanes) and also a lot more sustainable.

What one piece of advice would you give to budding visionaries and designers of the future?
We found that the most important thing in entrepreneurship is resilience.
Please go on, one way or the other, you’ll make it.
If they say that only 1 in 10 startup-ideas fail, make sure you go on as long as 10 so you will succeed.

Activism and engagement with world problems are big themes the panel recognised while reviewing applications – how do you think the AVY is contributing to political or social change?
We want to show that not only the government and NGO’s play a role but that everyone can help. We focussed on this apllication having absolutely nothing (no money not a lot of knowledge of the market or technology). Still we found that focus and attention brings one closer to the end goal.

Innovative responses to global displacement and migration among other social challenges affecting society currently (and in the future) are highly necessary. How can individuals and companies be better supported to initiate new solutions?
Ask all your friends and there friends and there friends again to join you on a mission. A simple facebook-post can be enough to generate a movement. Go out and use your network. This way great achievements can be made.

And finally, what does having access to Makerversity’s facilities and network offer a company like yours?
Makerversity helps us in many ways. The facilities are amazing and would never be affordable otherwise. Alongside the helpful and inspiring community the team is very flexible and always wants to support us.

We’re wishing the team all the luck for their nomination and in their upcoming test flights!

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Anna Kinneir
Posted By Anna Kinneir
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