Imagine flying in a windowless plane -- that nonetheless allows travelers to see panoramic views through giant OLED panels that cover the walls of the aircraft. That could be a reality in just 10 years, according to a the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).
CPI is a British technology firm that helps companies develop new products and is working on developing technology that would reduce an aircraft's weight. Lighter aircraft consume less fuel, which, in turn, could lead to a reduction in costs and airfares. (According to CPI, for every 1 percent reduction in a plane's weight, fuel costs are cut by 0.75 percent.)
"We had been speaking to people in aerospace and we understood that there was this need to take weight out of aircraft," CPI's Dr. John Helliwell told the Guardian. Windows on an aircraft require a stronger fuselage, he explained. Remove the windows, and the plane is much lighter.
"Follow the logical thought through. Let's take all the windows out -- that's what they do in cargo aircraft -- what are the passengers going to do? If you think about it, it's really only the people that are sitting next to the windows that will suffer," he said.
The company set to work designing a plane whose fuselage would be lined on the inside with giant OLED displays. OLED, which stands for organic light-emitting diodes, is the same technology used by the latest, high-end, super thin televisions. The displays would feature views outside the aircraft transmitted by cameras mounted on the outside of the plane, and passengers could use them to check email, view information about the flight and event customize their entertainment. Screens on the backs of each seat would offer a similar function.
Helliwell said such planes could be ready in a decade, after other advancements in OLED technology. "We are talking about it now because it matches the kind of development timelines they have in the aerospace industry," he said.
Watch a video of the concept below: