The Future of Air Travel
Guest speakers: Andy Reynolds (Airbus Engineer)
Imagine stepping onto an aeroplane and sitting on the front seat of an aircraft with a panoramic view of the sky you’re about to fly into. Would this be your dream view or make you feel queasy at the thought of it? Now imagine being able to transform our modern-day drones into life-sized pods that we can sit in and travel from A to B in. This doesn’t sound possible, surely?
Andy Reynolds is an experienced engineer who captured the minds of the audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival 2017, regarding the future of travel, and in particular, air travel. Working for Airbus, he took the audience into a world of understanding how new and innovative ways of aircraft structures will change in the near future.
The Revolutionary Design of the A350 Aircraft
Reynolds spoke of the new innovative and revolutionary design of the Airbus A350 XWB as a concept of nature. Building an aircraft which embodies the nature around us, such as the adaptive wing design of the aircraft resembling those of a bird which morphs while moving in the air. Additionally, the A350 is, according to Airbus themselves:
“built with over 70% advanced materials; combining carbon composites (53%), titanium and modern aluminium alloys, to create lighter and more cost-efficient aircraft while also reducing maintenance requirements”
In turn, this will lead to a 25% decrease in CO2 emissions when compared with previous-generation aircraft.
Reynolds also touched on the design of the aircraft to be spacious, comfortable and sensationally designed with ambient lighting throughout the whole aircraft. From higher ceilings and generously wider seats to more comfortable quieter cabins or pods which are well insulated. This new design of the aircraft is only the start for Airbus, as they foresee a future of similar technology in line with other modes of transport too from trains to buses and even boats.
The Future for Airbus
Reynolds spoke of the future of Airbus and the innovations that are leading to some revolutionary ideas. Instead of travelling using various transport methods from a bus to a train, to a flight on an aircraft, Airbus has decided to re-create and transform these methods of transport.
How can Airbus rethink urban mobility? They decided to create the ‘Pop Up’.
Imagine a two-passenger pod with a set of wheels that are attached to a quadcopter. So, this is a flying vehicle that transforms into a car… Furthermore, the vehicle will also have the ability to attach to other vehicles in order to create a train.
Yes, you heard correctly. Airbus has taken innovation to a new level by creating a multi-modal transportation vehicle that takes on the third dimension. These will relieve congestion on the streets, reduce emissions and most importantly, this will be managed by an Artificial Intelligence platform which will oversee the trips for all passengers and offer alternative routes for a seamless travel experience!
This fantastic concept has been under scrutiny as to whether it really will happen, but Airbus say they are taking the idea seriously. Italdesign were a company approached by a number of Airbus engineers and automotive engineers designers, in order to think about urban mobility in a new and innovative way. Resultantly, the Pop. Up was premiered at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show as the:
“first modular, fully electric, zero-emission concept vehicle system designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded megacities.”
After all that Reynolds discussed regarding the future of air travel, and Airbus working hard to be innovative and unique in their concepts as well as sustainable and economical, they have designed and adapted modern technology to create new multi-modal vehicle concept. Who knows what the future of travel will be, but Airbus do have several ideas and concepts that aim to transform transportation within megacities.