After discovering the invigorating properties of a popular Thai energy drink—Krating Daeng—on a trip to Thailand, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz postulated that a similar product could have good potential in Western markets. Mateschitz obtained the license to manufacture a carbonated version of Krating Daeng and the Red Bull energy drink was launched in Austria in 1987.
Most people know of Red Bull the energy drink, but are unaware of the company’s research and development activities in industries ranging from space travel to auto racing. In fact, Red Bull just might one of the most innovative technology companies you’ve never heard of.
The following 7 technological developments serve as reminders that Red Bull isn’t the average soft drink manufacturer.
7. Red Bull Can
Red Bull is proud of its environmental achievements. Its cans are 60% lighter than they were a couple years ago and are 100% recyclable. Their transport therefore requires less energy than if they were made of plastic or glass bottles.
6. Red Bull Stratos Pressure Suit
Daredevil Felix Baumgartner captured the world’s attention a few years back when he was the first to freefall from the edge of space. But what type of suit does one wear in these types of conditions?
Leave it up to Red Bull Engineering. Its designers built the most advanced pressure suit ever created, with powered heating system, a stable aerodynamic profile, and an embedded face mask to prevent freezing in the -90F air and warming in the +100F air.
The results of course, are history: on October 14, 2012 Baumgartner, reaching the top speed of 833,9 mph, successfully landed in the New Mexico Desert with millions people watching live on TV and YouTube.
5. Red Bull Stratos Capsule
Both Felix Baumgartner’s suit as well as the capsule in which he was launched was specially made for the mission, and is widely regarded as a technological marvel. Consisting of four components—pressure sphere, cage, shell, base and crush pads—the capsule gave its pilot a controlled climate during the ascent, protecting him from subzero temperatures in a pressurized, oxygenated environment.
4. Red Bull Racing’s Purported Advanced Traction Control
At the Singapore Grand Prix 2013, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won by an unprecedented 32 second margin over his closest rival. Now F1 analysts speculate that Red Bull Racing’s F1 engineers may have invented a new kind of traction control that links the car’s hybrid engine to its suspension.
If an F1 car did have traction control (albeit, the technology has since been outlawed), the car’s sensors could determine exactly how much grip the rear wheels have on the bumpy asphalt and maximize the amount of power being applied. In short, with traction control, the driver could get on the gas earlier in the turn with less need for correction and less risk of spinning out. More power out of the turn means more speed.
3. Red Bull Aeroscreen
Red Bull’s Aeroscreen cockpit protection system made its debut the 2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, where it was fitted to one of its cars in opening practice. Daniel Ricardo completed an installation lap for the purposes of soliciting driver feedback to the concept.
The Fédération Internationale de l’automobile (FIA) plans on introducing enhanced cockpit protection on next year’s F1 cars. Additionally, the Aeroscreen is believed to have inspired the Mercedes “Halo” F1 cockpit protection concept, having gone through impact testing before making its Sochi appearance.
2. Red Bull Sound Select
Red Bull is creating a scalable career development program for a select list of emerging music artists. This program will take advantage of all company assets including live events, an unparalleled curator network, recording studios, artist marketing campaigns, content production and Red Bull media properties—all powered by a private digital marketing and distribution platform.
1. Hypercar by Aston Martin and Red Bull
Aston Martin is partnering with Red Bull to create the most luxurious and fastest car in its class. The new hypercar—codenamed Project AM-RB001—will use F1 racing technology for lapping race tracks just as fast LMP1 and F1 race cars. Details around the project are still hazy, but one thing is for certain: it will be fast, luxurious, and expensive.
Red Bull is brand that doesn’t skimp on its budget for marketing and extreme sports; to this end, it considers product innovation and the development of new technologies a key part of its identity. And as is the case with all research and development activities, the best from Red Bull Engineering is likely still under wraps—at least for now.