Cross-Industry Insights: Automotive Strategy Drives Aerospace Innovation

March 20, 2024 - Author: Darryn La Zar - Senior Director, Business Development, Matt Guise - Project Manager

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Automotive strategy drives aerospace innovation

Automotive and Aerospace Industry Similarities

The automotive and aerospace markets share surprising similarities, offering valuable lessons for aerospace innovation. With its high demand and rapidly progressing standards, the automotive strategy, driven by demand and evolving standards, provides insights into the challenges in aerospace industry like geopolitical conflict, sustainability standards, and increased global travel.

With shared technologies and intertwined customer demands, these industries are closely related. However, their pace differs significantly. The automotive sector’s rapid speed and large-scale production drive advancements, methodologies, and innovations, serving as a guide for aerospace facilities and reducing costs. By adopting the proactive approach inherent in the automotive industry, aerospace organizations can expedite growth and research goals, potentially shortening testing and trials for future innovations.

Some aerospace facilities urgently need updates to meet the demands of today’s market, driven by innovations such as supersonic and hypersonic capabilities and the growing use of drones in defense and transportation. This presents complex challenges for research and development testing facilities, which haven’t seen this level of innovation in decades. The obsolescence of outdated aerospace products and systems particularly impacts facilities developed over 50 years ago. Inadequate capabilities to handle advancing technologies such as supersonic and hypersonic capabilities and increased throughput hinder meeting customer needs and competitiveness. Hence, industry experts in both the automotive industry and the aerospace industry learning from each other becomes crucial.

Innovation within the aerospace sector progresses at a slower pace, requiring established, reproducible, and dependable results to ensure the product’s safety in the air, carrying valuable passengers or cargo. Addressing dynamic challenges such as costs, supply chains, and evolving technologies demands a proactive approach to creating enduring solutions for the future of the aerospace industry. Some of the unique multifaceted challenges in aerospace industry practices include:

  1. Calibration to today’s costs, supply, and technology – During volatile supply chain situations, clarity for making informed, data-driven decisions becomes challenging. Advanced technologies add complexity to costs related to raw materials, specialized equipment, and skilled labor, particularly for seasoned aerospace leaders, engineers, and technologists.
  2. Rate of certification – Unlike streamlined processes in industries like automotive, aerospace product certification is intricate and time-consuming, governed by stringent safety and performance criteria.
  3. Throughput demands – Current aerospace facilities struggle to keep pace with the rapid growth in air travel and transportation demands.
  4. Quickly changing regulations – Market innovations frequently come before regulations are set, leading to delays in addressing emerging technologies such as electrification and alternative energy solutions.
  5. The combined complexity and fragility of aerospace test cells – Aerospace test cells continually face the delicate balance of managing multimillion-dollar components among their intricate design and inherent fragility, posing unique challenges in engineering and design.

Preparation and strategic planning are crucial for navigating the evolving challenges within the aerospace industry. Drawing on insights from the automotive sector, aerospace organizations can develop effective strategies to address production and testing objectives. As industries evolve, continuous learning becomes essential to staying ahead. Leveraging our expertise, ACS provides tailored solutions informed by automotive optimization to drive progress in aerospace innovation.

Read more in our white paper to learn about how automotive strategy drives aerospace innovation.