One aspect of my latest visit to Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse that I had not yet found the time to write about is the vision the European aircraft manufacturer has of the future of aviation. I am not referring to the next iteration of the A320 or even the state-of-the-art A350, but to how air travel is going to feel like decades into the future.
Just as it was difficult to predict the emergence of the internet as a world-chaging phenomenon only 25 years ago, it is also impossible to predict with total accuracy how technology advances are going to shape the way we fly. However, aircraft have very long development cycles and manufacturers like Airbus are already thinking decades ahead, even if not all the technologies that they are envisaging are currently available.
Airbus experts flew in from Hamburg to give us a briefing on a very interesting approach to aircraft technology innovation: biomimicry, that is, looking at nature and imitating the solutions provided my millions of years of evolution.
Besides aero-dynamical improvements brought about by advances in the science of materials, perhaps the most eye-catching aspects of Airbus' 2050 envisioned aircrat are its U-shaped twin tail and the rear fuselage-embedded engines, passengers ought to benefit a lot from the implementation of bionic solutions to cabin interiors.