Skip to main content

Airbus looking to introduce cockpits without windows

airbus may introduce cockpits without windows cockpit
Up until a few years ago, the suggestion of building a passenger jet with a windowless cockpit would no doubt have had many passengers checking the price of boat tickets, but thanks to massive advances in technology, it’s actually a design Airbus is thinking about developing.

And what’s more, it wants to move the cockpit to another part of the plane altogether.

In a patent filing published last week, the commercial aircraft manufacturer explains that having the cockpit at the front of the plane greatly reduces its aerodynamic qualities, with a more complex shape and structure required to house it. In addition, the heaviness of the windows and its reinforcements adds significantly to the aircraft’s overall weight, reducing its fuel efficiency markedly.

And then think of all the seat space the cockpit takes up, “limiting the financial profits for the airline company exploiting the aircraft,” as Airbus puts it in its patent filing.

With this in mind, the plane maker envisages moving the entire cockpit “to an unused zone of the aircraft”, suggesting locations such as the lower part of the vertical tail or below the main cabin area, as shown in the image below.

airbus cockpit placement

So how will the pilots see where they’re going? Why, wraparound video screens, of course.

On-board cameras will serve to combine real-time video with pre-stored data to provide pilots with all the visual information they need, with the design aimed at “immersing the pilot in a three-dimensional universe.”

The patent also talks of holograms of weather systems or objects on the ground (when the plane is taxiing) being projected onto the electronic view screens, with overlays “improving the perception of the pilot of the outside scene, thereby increasing safety.”

One hopes an abundance of back-up systems would be in place to deal with video-screen malfunctions, though presumably the autopilot could save the day in all but the most extreme of circumstances.

Of course, with UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology advancing so rapidly, we could well leapfrog Airbus’s design to one where the pilots sit in an office with a joystick and a cup of coffee as they fly their passenger-filled plane from A to B, though the airlines would obviously have to create a very clever marketing campaign to convince passengers that it’s a good idea.

[via Gizmodo]

Editors' Recommendations

How 5G is changing journalism
best series finales the newsroom finale

There's little doubt that 5G is starting to touch every area of our lives -- from online classrooms to 5G-powered bots supplying medication to remote citizens. It’s no surprise then that 5G is also changing the way our newsrooms work. 
Once widely available, 5G tools and the faster speeds they deliver will help journalists in at least three ways, professor John Pavlik of Rutgers University. First, he says, “5G can enable journalists working in the field to report more effectively from their digital devices, particularly with regard to high-bandwidth news gathering, such as photogrammetry, and other immersive applications for augmented reality and virtual reality (e.g., volumetric video capture), as well as high-resolution video from mobile devices.”
Second, 5G can enable news organizations to operate effectively without relying on a central, physical newsroom by supporting high-speed internet file sharing. Finally, 5G can help improve newsrooms by supporting better engagement with the public.
The best example of how 5G has made journalism more effective can be seen with the latest collaboration between The New York Times and Verizon. In 2019, the two companies came together to build a 5G Journalism Lab. Tools born out of this collaboration include environmental photogrammetry, Beam, and Eclipse.
Environmental photogrammetry
“Environmental photogrammetry involves taking thousands of still photographs and stitching them together as one large 3D model, giving readers the ability to immersively navigate the space as if they were actually there,” explains Sebastian Tomich, senior vice president and global head of advertising and marketing solutions for The New York Times.
This technology was first used in a 2020 story that toured the Los Angeles mansion where gamer conglomerate FaZe Clan lived and worked. “An article that employs environmental photogrammetry uses as much data as streaming an hourlong television show,” Marc Lavallee, head of research and development for the Times, said in a press release. “Making this kind of reading experience seamless for our readers requires cutting-edge networks like 5G.”
Beam and Eclipse 

Talking about their first proprietary photography app, Beam, Tomich said it allows Times journalists working in the field to capture and automatically upload high-resolution images to the newsroom with nothing but their smartphone and camera. 
Building upon the advances of Beam, the Eclipse app leverages Verizon 5G to expand video journalism. Eclipse can use 5G to transmit professional video files that meet The Times’s quality standards at a speed that competes with uploads of mobile phone videos, which have file sizes roughly 14 times smaller, Tomich said. It allows video journalists to get material into their editors’ hands in close to real time, rather than hours later.
“This "always on" connection facilitated by Beam and Eclipse enables deeper coordination between the newsroom and photo and video journalists in the field,” he said. “With the ability to review footage in near real time, editors can now request additional photos or videos while the journalist is still on the scene.”
Real-life applications
These tools developed by the 5G lab aren’t just ideas inside four walls. The team has already started implementing them to improve the speed and quality of journalism. 
For instance, when the team went to cover the 2020 Oscars red carpet arrivals, Verizon set up a 5G network at the event. Using Beam, a Times photographer roamed the red carpet freely, without interruption or regard for file transfer limits. “He ended up sending eight times more photos than the previous year’s photographer, with an average upload time of 2.1 seconds,” Tomich said. “With Beam, shooting IS filing.”
However, creating powerful tools isn’t always enough for effective real-world practices. Factors like awareness, availability, and access to resources play a huge role in shaping journalism. As newsrooms and 5G providers are waking up to the transformational power of 5G-powered, Pavlik suggests three ideas to better capitalize on the 5G tools available on the market.
He advises newsrooms to: 

Read more
CES 2022: The biggest news and announcements so far
CES 2022 Feature

The 2022 Consumer Electronics Show is well underway, and despite a few pandemic-related setbacks, tech companies big and small have still shown up in full force and dropped an avalanche of new products. The latest launches offer a glimpse into what’s in store for the year ahead, technologically speaking. Here’s an abridged recap of the big hits and happenings so far, broken down by category. Enjoy!

Home Theater

Read more
This wild new display puts a gargantuan 120-inch virtual monitor on your desk
brelyon virtual display

In Disney's 1963 classic The Sword in the Stone, there's a scene where the wizard Merlin has to pack for a trip, but instead of packing light as a normal person might do, he flicks his wand, sings a silly incantation, and shrinks down everything in his house -- books, dishes, and even furniture -- so that it fits into a small handbag.

Here in the real world, that obviously isn't possible. You can't just shrink large objects and make them fit into smaller spaces. But despite these seemingly inalienable limitations on the physical world, that's exactly what MIT spinoff Brelyon has done with display technology.

Read more