What will airplanes look like in 2050?
Airbus' vision for the future of flight presents planes that are eco-friendly, self-cleaning, and see-through.
At the Farnborough International Airshow earlier this year, Airbus unveiled the Airbus Concept Plane, an "engineer's dream about what an aircraft could look like in the long term future," explained Charles Champion, executive vice president of engineering.
The company's engineers have imagined a plane that could become invisible with the push of a button.
"The extraordinary design would allow travelers to look down on cities and landscapes thousands of feet below or gaze up at the heavens, giving them the sensation of floating unassisted through the sky," imagines the New York Post.
It would be lighter and slimmer than current planes, with semi-embedded engines, trim wings, and a U-shaped tail designed to "improve environmental performance or 'eco-efficiency,'" according to Airbus.
The plane would also be outfitted with anti-turbulence sensors, "morphing seats made from ecological, self-cleaning materials, which change shape for a snug fit," and cabins that could "transform" into offices, gardens, or bedrooms using holographic projections.
It would be quieter than other aircraft, and, writes Der Spiegel, "If the Airbus engineers have their way, future passengers may contribute to reductions in fuel costs themselves [...] Passengers' body heat would be collected and fed into onboard systems using heat exchangers."
Don't get your hopes up, however: "It's not a real aircraft and all the technologies it features, though feasible, are not likely to come together in the same manner," Champion notes.
Still, Axel Krein, head of research and technology for Airbus, told Der Spiegel, "What emerged were completely realistic visions of flight in the year 2050. Our people are grounded in reality, after all. And most of the necessary technology already exists."
Check out renderings of the Airbus Concept Plane, as well as other "planes of the future," in the slideshow below.