Since December, Airbus has been teasing out the airplane of the future. Now we finally know what it could look like.
The Verge’s senior technology editor, Lauren Goode, toured Airbus labs to look at Transpose, the modular airplane concept that the company has been working on.
In Airbus’s vision of the future, swappable airplane “modules” could put coffee shops, fitness studios or day spas in the body of the aircraft — within 15 minutes.
Each section of the plane is referred to as an “experience.” Using the basic principles behind many cargo planes, airlines could swap different experiences in and out to accommodate different types of passengers on different flights.
While Airbus executives said there is a possibility that modular planes could be in the skies within the next few years, there are still several hurdles to pass.
Engineers are still trying to work out some basic safety features like how to fit in oxygen masks, how to get people back to their seats in the event of turbulence and how to evacuate the aircraft in event of emergency. If/when they figure all that out, they will still need to present the project to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other international regulators for approval and certification.
And, even in the event that Airbus is able to meet this fast pace, there are still the economics to consider. Some airlines may keep their cabins in service for up to 10 years.
But if Airbus does succeed in getting their modular planes in the skies, flying is about to get a major upgrade