Air travel is in a time of extraordinary change. With the quick pace of advancement, airlines and plane producers are endeavoring to keep up. Like the automotive industry, plane manufacturers understand the need to improve both hardware and software of an airplane. Currently, the industry is taking a shot at many possible radical developments that could change the face of the industry & flying experience. Lets discuss the future of flying.
Electric aircraft aren’t far away. Airbus debuted their all-electric E-Fan demonstrator aircraft. The two-seat test plane is powered by two electric motors each powering a variable geometry fan. Some other airline is also working towards introducing a 12-passenger hybrid-electric prop plane.
Hypersonic flights will get you to your destination faster. Research is going on to develop a Hypersonic jet capable of reaching 4.5 times the speed of sound. Hypersonic commercial flights are expected to be a reality within the next decade or two. Though you might need to pay a premium amount for the service.
Connectivity And Entertainment
In-flight connectivity and entertainment have come a long way over the past few years. Long gone the days of a book, newspaper or a movie shown on an overhead projector being the only source of entertainment during the flight. Today, we are all familiar with the seatback entertainment systems, but they may soon be obsolete because of the availability of satellite-based internet connectivity. With the proliferation of smart devices, streaming entertainment looks to be the next hot thing.
You just can’t imagine the airline industry without a pilot. But as technology continues to grow, the systems which were once designed to assist pilots, may soon be replacing them. For short distance flights, testing of pilotless flying taxis is currently underway. Airlines are spending big money on the research to develop unmanned aircraft as this could lead to major cost savings.
The check-in process has gone from paper printouts to app-based QR codes. But in the near future, you may just need to simply show up as airlines are moving towards biometrics. Airlines are experimenting with facial recognition and fingerprint recognition for automated baggage system, automated check-in program or to use it instead of paper or electronic boarding passes. All you need to do is stand in front of a camera or scan your fingerprint on a scanner. Your details will then be matched with the government database.
Jet engines still run on kerosene. But soon it may be replaced by biofuels, which is a right step towards cutting down on greenhouse emissions. Some airlines have operated commercial flights using biofuels. Currently, there are a variety of biofuels available from recycled vegetable oil to plant-based ethanol.
Image Source: Zunum Aero