Insight

What is the future of flying?

By David Lawrence |

Although technology has been improving all aspects of human life over the decades, there are still numerous challenges that require overcoming, calling for further technological advancements. Some of the problems still facing the aviation industry include the fact that planes are still cramped, the long time it takes to fill and offload them, their tendency to use a lot of fuel, their weight, and the biggest of them all: their high carbon emission rate.

Alex Cruz, the CEO of British Airways, which partnered with Founders Forum to organize “Pitch On A Plane”, views technology as the future of airlines. “Pitch On A Plane” was a platform for startups to offer their ideas for improving air travel to IAG executives for a chance to get a hearing with the start-up founders in London Tech Week.

The future of flight is the development of planes which are free of the above problems and which offer a higher level of efficiency and satisfaction. Below are some advancements that are anticipated in the future of the aviation industry:

Quicker loading time

In an initiative referred to by Alex Cruz as Hangar 51, start-ups were offered with ten weeks of access to airlines like British Airways to give them an opportunity of implementing their ideas on real customers and using the real-time support and data to improve their innovation.

One product of this initiative is the use of cameras to track customers and luggage movement, allowing for data to be gained to know which areas are doing well and those which require improvement. This allows for the customer experience to be improved by making the loading and offloading time as short as possible.

The development of electric planes

In the recent past, companies such as Tesla, Chevy, Toyota and Nissan have taken up an initiative of making the dream of electric cars a reality. These crafts will be powered by electricity and will not require jet fuel. A major impact of the change from jet fuels will be reduced carbon emissions, which will be a great milestone towards the creation of a greener world.

With companies such as Wright Electric and Ampaire working to out-do each other in making the biggest steps in electric air travel, you could be flying in an all-electric plane in just a few years.

Since this radical change in the way we travel could take several years to come to fulfilment, there are other changes that could be implemented sooner:

Introduction of the blended wing

The blended wing is a revolutionary concept that has been in development since the second world war but has been lacking the technology to introduce it into civil aviation. This concept features wings of aeroplanes blended into the body of the planes such that they provide extra space for passengers and goods.

The advantages of blended wings include fuel efficiency due to superior aerodynamics, short take-off time, lower engine noise and more internal space. One major challenge of this technology is fewer windows and exits.

Supersonic speeds

Although supersonic planes are concepts already in use, the technical compromise of achieving the high speeds prevents the idea from being used in commercial planes. This idea has been implemented in 2003 by Concorde and has since been grounded due to the high cost of fuel, the high level of noise concerns and the high fares. According to an aviation analyst, supersonic flight for smaller business jets will be possible in the near futures as compared to commercial flights.

As the engine and other technology advances, it could be possible in the future to fly across continents in a very short time without the high cost and noise, presenting numerous commercial and social possibilities.

The future is an appealing place to be in terms of the way technology is anticipated to improve human life. The introduction of electric planes is only one of the numerous ways in which travel could change in the future. You never know: maybe we will be teleporting to work each morning in the near future.


David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.