Airbus has unveiled a ‘green’ concept plane of the future as it kick-starts a global competition to seek out the most innovative ideas for a low carbon aviation industry.
The concept plane, which has been described by Airbus as a “cruise ship of the sky” includes numerous eco efficient features, such as a lightweight body and super slim wings, as well as air cabin seats that clean themselves.
The futuristic plane was unveiled by Airbus at the Farnborough International Airshow, today. At the same time the company announced it was launching ‘Fly Your Ideas’, a contest aimed at students worldwide to develop new ideas for a greener aviation industry.
Although not technically achievable at the moment, the Airbus concept plane aims to demonstrate what advancements in existing green technologies could produce in 40 or even 20 years time. On the ‘outside’ of the plane, these could include not just a lightweight, but ‘intelligent’ body, wings that are ultra long and thin, engines that are ‘semi-embedded’ and a tail that is U-shaped.
Inside, the the plane features ecological, self-cleaning seats that mould to the shape of the body, see-through walls that offer 360 degree views of the world below at a touch of a button, and holographic projections that allow passengers to transform their ‘private cabin’ into an office, bedroom or Zen garden.
Fuel cells, solar panels and body heat might provide energy for such an aircraft, Airbus said, while carbon emissions could be reduced further – as could drag and fuel burn – through formation flights that mimic the bird world.
The launch of the concept plane coincides with new research by Airbus that shows passengers in 2050 will be more environmentally aware, but will want to fly more. In the poll, over 40 per cent of under 35s said that for every two flights we make today, we will take at least three by 2050.
“The Airbus Concept Plane represents an engineer’s dream about what an aircraft could look like in the long term future. It’s not a real aircraft and all the technologies it features, though feasible, are not likely to come together in the same manner. Here we are stretching our imagination and thinking beyond our usual boundaries,” said Charles Champion, executive vice president Engineering, Airbus.
Part of the aim of the concept plane is to stimulate more ideas to develop greener forms of air travel and the ‘Fly Your Ideas’ competition will challenge university students to do just that.
The biennial contest involves three rounds, concluding with a final at next summer’s International Paris Airshow with £38,000 pot of cash to be shared between winners and runners up. Registration for the competition opens this Friday.
The concept plane is outlined in a new report ‘The Future by Airbus’.