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Windowless planes are closer to giving passengers a panoramic view of the sky

It’s surprising that this isn’t right around the corner by now: 4 years ago, in 2014 it was reported that soon people would be able to fly in seemingly transparent, “windowless” planes.

At the time, it was reported that in “as soon as a decade,” according to Mashable, the technology would be available.

UK-based technology innovation company the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) aspired to become the first to design this windowless aircraft, but it’s not quite what you’d expect it to be.

(Image credit: CPI)

It will be a plane lined with high definition, flexible screens all throughout the inside of it, showing exactly what lies outside the plane.

According to Mashable:

“In other words, there are no actual windows in the plane’s passenger section; the displays create the illusion that the cabin walls are transparent. The concept for windowless aircrafts with displays isn’t entirely new. A Paris-based company has a similar project in development, and there’s also a design in the works for a windowless jet. But CPI believes the vision could become a reality within 10 years.”

A person in the plane would see imaging originating from mounted cameras fixed to the outside of the aircraft, that developers say could create a completely unobstructed, panoramic view. Notice there is no engine, no sight of wings or anything else in these demonstration photos.

(Image credit: CPI)

It was reported back then that the planes would make use of special, OLED screens, essentially high-end, thin-film display technology, bendy unbreakable screens with protective coatings alleged to preserve these displays “for its lifetime.”

Further promoting their design, it was reported then that CPI aspired to make plane walls thinner, stronger, and more lightweight than the ones we have now using the aforementioned OLED screens.

That could even be cheaper, CPI claimed, citing numbers that each time a plane weight is reduced by 1%, a 0.75% fuel cost savings is possible, so the airline, manufacturer, and passenger will save money.

(Image credit: CPI)

In about 5 months ago in 2018, it was reported that the plan to make windowless aircraft was going to be pursued by the Dubai based Emirates airline.

Emirates unveiled designs for “a new first class suite, which feature fibre optic cameras that beam an image of outside onto the wall,” according to News.au.

Emirates president, Sir Tim Clark said to the BBC: “The quality of the imagery is so good, it’s better than with the natural eye. [It’s] as if you were in the window seat. “So can the new generation of aircraft be windowless with this technology? In my view there’s no reason why not.

The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they’ll burn far less fuel and fly higher.”

(Image credit: CPI)

According to a September 2018 report on companies developing flexible displays, in which they mentioned CPI:

“The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is currently developing flexible OLED technologies to make windowless fuselage a reality. This includes embedding display screens into the lining panels of a plane to offer passengers a 365-degree panoramic view of the world around them. Thanks to live footage from external cameras, passengers would be able to select views from any side of the aircraft—regardless of where they sat.

Beyond transforming the travel experience, eliminating windows would also enhance the safety and strength of an aircraft. According to CPI, “Over 80% of the fully laden weight of a commercial airliner is the aircraft itself and its fuel.” This reduction in weight translates to fuel savings—among other benefits. With less fuel onboard, these planes emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, promoting environmentally friendly travel.”

(Image credit: CPI)

Visually it may make for a very interesting experience, but one must wonder how it feels to look at a screen emitting blue light, versus the sun beaming through the window of the plane.