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Many people have hopped onto an aeroplane, but as you’re flying to your destination, do you ever think about the hard-hitting innovation and technology that has gotten us to this point in flight travel or what’s in store for the future?
As Wright Brothers Day on 17 December last year marked 115 years since the siblings took their first flight, let’s take a look at how far we’ve come in aviation technology.
Travel 4.5 times the speed of sound
We’ve all seen the movies and cartoons where futuristic planes and rocket ships fly super fast. Well, this could be a reality in the next decade or two as Boeing recently revealed a preliminary design for a hypersonic jet that could transport passengers across the Atlantic Ocean in just two hours.
Boeing and Aurora Flight Sciences are currently testing out pilotless flying in Dubai. The autonomous flights mean that aeroplanes will no longer need pilots to operate the flight path, which they reckon will be a huge savings cost.
Autonomy is the future of the sky ... and the road
The car industry can look to aviation technology for inspiration for the highly anticipated autonomous vehicles of our not-so-distant future. Aeroplanes are the leaders in automation and high levels of safety, and these two factors rely a lot on artificial intelligence (AI). In the automotive industry, the progression of AI technology is a big driving force behind the rapid development of autonomous driving.
Data, data, data
Rolls-Royce, the aviation and automotive engineering company, have placed Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in all their engines, from jets and helicopters to cars. The sensors provide the company with live data on how the engines are performing, alerting them to any problems, malfunctions or maintenance issues.
Taking in-flight streaming to your devices
Forget the two hours of free wifi you might get onboard a long-haul flight – satellite connectivity flights of the future will be going completely wireless. United, Delta, Southwest and American Airlines have already adopted the full streaming system.
Extra leg room? Yes, please.
Airbus have come up with a simple yet ingenious solution to maximise on cabin space. They have made cabin seats adjustable by placing them on rails. This means that depending on how full or empty the flight is, cabin crew can now adjust the seating space.
Back to ground
Not all innovations are in aeroplanes. Airports are becoming more and more advanced as each year passes. Singapore’s Changi Airport is setting some serious benchmarks when it comes to airport tech innovation. They have a fully automated check-in system. From facial scanning to digital baggage check-in, they’ve made it easy to do it all yourself.