Airbus unveils radical vision of future aircraft design

In advance of the Paris Air Show, aircraft manufacturer Airbus has unveiled a vision of what the company feels its aircraft might look like in 2050.

The company’s visionaries see a future in which an aircraft’s bionic structure mimics bird bone, which is optimised to provide strength where needed. The idea would allow an ‘intelligent cabin wall membrane’ to be deployed that can become transparent to provide passengers with open panoramic views.

As radical as that sounds, it’s not the only futuristic suggestion that the company has come up with. It also claims that the cabin of such aircraft might also be able to identify and respond to passenger needs, enabling bespoke features, such as morphing seats that change to meet an individual’s body shape.

First, business and economy classes would be dispensed with, in favour of new personalised ‘zones’ that would offer tailored levels of experience.

In a central ‘interactive zone’ of such a cabin, for example, virtual pop-up projections would transform passengers to whatever social scene they wished to be in, from holographic gaming to virtual changing rooms for shoppers.

A ‘vitalising zone’, on the other hand, would provide an area where passengers could indulge in vitamin- and antioxidant-enriched air, mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments, while taking in the view of the world around them.

The company said that by offering different levels of experience within each zone, airlines would be able to achieve price differentials and give more people access to the benefits of air travel.

Airbus also believes that — due to advances in technologies — that the cabin of the future could be 100 per cent recyclable. It would have self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibres that would reduce waste and maintenance, as well as harvest passenger body heat to power cabin features.

Such technologies are already being developed and, while they may not be seen in the exact same manner as in the Airbus Cabin, some of them could feature in future Airbus aircraft programmes.