Advancements in the aerospace industry are likely to take societies by storm within the next few decades. The trends we see today are often the prelude to promising technologies that await us in the future. There are many trends worthy of discussion, including robotics, systems software, and manufacturing techniques. And, of course, there’s 3D printing, which is changing the industry in more ways than ever before.
Let’s consider some important aspects of the aerospace engineering field–it’s a field that impacts all of us, whether we know it or not.
Michael Abrams, a contributing writer for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASMA), wrote a timely article about the top five aerospace trends of now and the future. Some key examples include systems software, craft-to-craft communications, and even flying commuters. While the first two might be somewhat esoteric to a layperson, that last one is sure to captivate people everywhere.
Timothy Lee at Ars Technica reported in March that New Zealanders would probably see Kitty Hawk flying autonomous taxis within 3-years. That’s big news with some major implications for socio-economics, regulatory policies, and the very nature of daily travel.
Individualized travel isn’t the only arena seeing some progress, either. Commercial airliners are on the cusp of making some important breakthroughs despite decades of relative stagnation. It also was recently reported that 3D printer provider BigRep has partnered with Etihad Airways Engineering to develop an additive manufacturing roadmap for the whole aerospace industry. You wouldn’t know it, but very few airplane components have been manufactured using 3D printing technologies. That’s already changing.
Writers at The Manufacturer published a salient article highlighting a successful partnership between Airbus and Materialise. The result of their joint efforts is the first passenger-facing part to an interior compartment that was created with a 3D printer. More importantly, the part is 15% lighter than its conventionally made counterpart and at no additional cost. Outcomes like that are certain to motivate other manufacturers into similar pursuits.
The best part about our growing knowledge economy is that providers exist to help support aerospace manufacturers. That doesn’t necessarily mean multinational companies such as Boeing; smaller competitors and startups are equally empowered disruptors by simply tapping into a 3d printing service on a regular basis. In other words, technological advancements in areas like 3D printing are enabling the industry to achieve things otherwise thought impossible.
These are just a few trends in this ever-evolving industry. There are many more worth checking out. And remember, all of these trends are rapidly unfolding!