Aviation innovators Rosen Aviation reckon the experience of cabin windows could be taken to the next level, rendering actual airplane windows obsolete.
The American aviation company is plugging its Maverick Project airplane cabin design as the next frontier of inflight experience.
Lee Clark, Rosen’s senior VP for strategy said, “The Maverick Project was born from trying to bring tomorrow’s technology into tomorrow’s plane. Tomorrow’s technology.”
Clark adds that while some of these features have become more common on the ground in recent years, airplane cabins haven’t caught up.
“The Maverick Project originated because the industry at large is somewhat lagging behind the domestic, residential, and automotive worlds,” he said.
Rosen, working in collaboration with KiPcreating and Sky-Style, wants to change this dynamic with the Maverick Project.
But while the visual renderings look flashy, Clark says the goal isn’t to go high-tech simply for the sake of it.
“The critical piece is it’s about the passenger experience, it’s not about the technology. One of the elements that are most critical for Rosen is the integration of technology seamlessly, that it’s almost invisible technology,” adds Clark.
Rosen envisages the Maverick Project working in a private jet, but the company also plans to exhibit a commercial version at next year’s Airport Interiors Expo, an annual industry event highlighting innovation in cabin design.
Rosen’s Maverick Project has made waves in the aviation world, not long after the design premiered in 2020 it was nominated for an International Yacht & Aviation Award and was also on the Judges’ Choice shortlist his year’s Crystal Cabin Awards.
“It seems the virtual skylights and virtual windows are among the hottest of topics because they bring in that ability to incorporate augmented reality, some artificial intelligence, and they transform that little porthole window we’ve been living with for decades into something more immersive,” says Clark.
The idea is a virtual window could depict the world outside the airplane via an OLED screen overlaid with detail. For example, if the airplane is flying over a mountain range, the screen will flash up with information on the landmark.
The result is the windows are less structural concepts, and more part of the inflight entertainment (IFE).
The Maverick Project is designed to suit a private jet space, but a commercial airplane offering is said to be also coming soon.
The Maverick Project isn’t the first windowless plane concept. A few years ago Dubai-based airline Emirates premiered a design for a “fully enclosed first-class private suite” using real-time fiber-optic camera technology to create virtual windows.
Some aviation experts have also raised concerns about the logistics of windowless aviation in the past.
Rosen recently completed a research project in partnership with the University of Colorado and Textron Aviation, examining people’s response to virtual windows. Clark adds he’s not at liberty to disclose too much about the study’s findings, but that the response among subjects was overwhelmingly positive.
Clark adds there are other advantages to revolutionizing cabin windows.
“From an engineering perspective, virtual windows bring many, many benefits from structural integrity to lightweight to aerodynamics,” he added.
But Clark emphasizes that the main aim of the Maverick Project’s window design is to enhance the journey for travelers.
Rosen’s Maverick Project also uses touchless technology in the wake of Covid-19, more appealing than ever.
“This was all developed and created well before Covid ever came along,” says Clark. “It was just a natural and intuitive way to control things and it just happens to have the benefit that it’s touchless and hygienic,” he added.
While details of this collaboration are still kept close to the vest, perhaps some modified aspects of the Maverick Project could become a reality on planes soon.