So you’re sat onboard your international red-eye flight, with a crying infant sat two rows behind you and an armrest hogger next to you, “Why can’t this plane just be equipped with turbines capable of supersonic flight so I was home already sleeping in my bed?” Whilst commercial supersonic flights may sound like a crazy idea, the advances that we have seen in aeronautical and aerospace technologies over the last few decades has shown us that nothing is impossible. There is a bevy of aerospace technologies that could very well be on their way to an airspace near you in the near future. These developments could transform the world of transportation and communications. In this article, we will explain the emerging aerospace technologies you want to know about.

Air Taxi

The idea of air taxis should generate plenty of buzz, especially with big companies such as Uber already has begun work on the idea. The real advancement here, in relation to a traditional taxi or commercial flight, is that rather than having a human behind the wheel or in the cockpit, the plane and its accompanying route would be monitored through the use of an automated controller instead. Whilst this may seem like an impossible idea, there is so much investment being put into the development of air taxis that we may see the first models within the next twenty years.

Material Improvements

There have been some amazing breakthroughs in material research in recent years, which could have a seriously positive effect on the airline industry. The experts at CP Aeronautics explained that aircraft manufacturers should see serious financial gains, thanks to the advancements that have been made in the field of material science. This is because the materials are such a major factor in the cost of flights. The use of new materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes in the wings of airplanes will make airplanes far lighter and more cost-effective which could help to reduce the price of the flight and increase the efficiency of the aircraft.

The result of using graphene and nanotube materials is a “morphing” wing, which was first developed by scientists at MIT and NASA. In addition to the wings, allowing for flight to become more efficient, manufacturing could also see a spike in productivity through a process that would allow small, specialized robots to assemble the wings of tiny, lightweight subunits.

Aircraft That Use ZeroFuel

Though the use of solar energy may not be new, the possibility of an aircraft which could operate not on fuel, but rather on the power of the sun, has piqued the interest of every airline and aircraft manufacturer as of late. So how would such an aircraft theoretically work? Well, to provide sufficient thrust to an aircraft’s engine, it would use photovoltaic panels that utilize solar energy. With the resulting benefits of such a technology, which can extend outside of the aeronautics sector into agriculture, 3D mapping, and wildlife protection, the pressure for a long-term development strategy has been put in place. 

Advancements in Monitoring the Structural Health of Planes

Safety is an extremely important part of aerospace and aircraft technologies and with some tragic aircraft disasters in recent years, there has been even more scrutiny than normal. Inspecting aircraft and ascertaining their safety status should become simpler and more efficient with the development of advanced health management systems. The technology, which includes monitoring, prognostics, and self-healing, has been previously deployed by Boeing and Airbus to send notifications of electrical problems to headquarters to deal with issues as soon as they emerge.

Smart Automation

The process of assembling aircraft is distinctively specialized and complicated, yet the costs of production tend to go unmentioned. Nonetheless, new advanced technologies and scientific innovations are making production quicker and more cost-effective. Nowadays, technicians can succeed in scanning metal surfaces using a tablet or smart glass to determine the exact dimensions of different airplane parts to create picture-perfect door handles and other intricate features.

With this information gathered, robotic assistants can then be tasked with performing the hard work and doing the heavy lifting. With the assistance of smart automation, every stage of production is improved and transactions are automated.

Aerospace technology is amongst the most incredible innovations of human design and development. Ever since humans first started experimenting with flight and aviation, scientists and engineers have been pushing the boundaries of possibility. There are so many emerging aerospace technologies that are almost beyond the realms of belief and what was originally seen as the stuff of science fiction is now standard in the field of aerospace.