You wouldn’t be blamed if you thought the words ‘airplane’ and ‘100 percent recyclable’ seemed at odds with each other. But according to Airbus it’s not odd at all.
Airbus unveiled its “inspired by nature” and very transparent Concept Cabin recently ahead of Paris Airshow week and among its features are a bunch of quirky features including seats that mould to your body shape and a cabin wall equipped with a membrane that controls air temperature and can become transparent to give passengers open panoramic views.
According to Airbus:
The cabin's bionic structure and responsive membrane combines panoramic views with an integrated neural network pulsing through it, which can identify and respond to the specific needs of each passenger. And the fittings and furnishings will take care of their own cleaning and repairs thanks to innovations inspired by nature, like dirt repellent coatings and self-healing covers.
It’s goodbye to cabin classes which are instead replaced with personalised zones—like the “vitalising zone” which will ‘recharge your batteries”. In this particular zone, you can indulge in aromatherapy and acupressure treatments whilst breathing in the vitamin and antioxidant enriched air, complete with mood lighting.
Then there’s the “interactive zone” featuring virtual pop up projections that can, according to Airbus, transform you to whichever social scene you want to be in, from holographic gaming to virtual changing rooms for active shoppers.
The “smart tech zone” is tailored towards the more functional oriented passenger with a chameleon style offering, to meet individual needs ranging from a simple to a complete luxury service, but all allowing you to continue life as if on the ground.
Then there’s the holographic technology which Airbus says could show scenes of the destination—be it a city skyline or a tropical forest—projected onto the walls. A private cabin can reflect your bedroom at home, a business conference or even a zen garden, thanks to the projection of virtual decors. According to Airbus, holographic technology will have advanced to such a degree that the virtual world will be indistinguishable from the real.
Airbus believes that its multi zone and experience approach will enable airlines to achieve price differentials and give more people access to the benefits of air travel with minimal environmental impact.
Hold on, minimal impact? This is a plane we’re talking about. But Airbus says more than 90 percent of its NZ$3.5 billion annual research and development investment has environmental benefits for current and future aircrafts. It seems pretty confident, for example, that with advances in technology its Concept Cabin will be 100 percent recyclable. Add to that self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibres which reduce waste and maintenance and will harvest passenger body heat to power cabin features, and you’re looking pretty good. Airbus says many of these technologies are already being developed.
Airbus is pinning that this plane could be operational in our skies in 2050. Of course by 2050 we can expect conventional fuel to be a mighty sight expensive, but there’s no word yet from Airbus with regards to what type of fuel (environmentally sound or not) the ambitious craft will be powered with.