Electrification of propulsion, composite materials, autonomous systems and digital integration are technological rain. In addition to this technological convergence, there is the need to respond to the planetary challenges of sustainability, making the advantages of a modular and flexible aircraft a reality. So, without further ado, let me present Flexcart (Flexible Aircraft), a Portuguese project with Brazilian support.
The UN predicts that 70% of the world’s population will be concentrated in cities by 2050, leaving the interior deserted. In other parts of the world, investment in transport infrastructure delays development. All this is occurring against the backdrop of climate change. If one of the secrets to overcoming these problems is collaboration, it becomes clear that moving information, people and goods will also be part of the solution. We collaborate better the more we interact. In the physical world, different means of transport are the equivalent of packages in the internet’s digital tubes. However, today the metaphor is incomplete because everything flows freely on the internet, invisible systems interacting automatically and transparently for the user. In order to complete the metaphor, a Portuguese consortium has taken the first step towards the internet of things that fly, the mobility internet. The idea was initially incubated in the newFACE project, with Flexcraft being the first to spread of wings.
Flexcraft is a modular, electric hybrid, flexible aircraft that can transport “packages” with people, goods, services or specialised systems. It’s the most visible part of an ecosystem that has been designed with separate flying modules and a set of different fuselages. This approach allows operating time gains on the ground and extends its intermodal capacity. After all, the “internet” reaches your computer but also your TV and phone. The future is about bringing together, not segregating.
In a world increasingly geared towards urban air mobility, Flexcraft is focussed on complementarity for the space between cities and the world beyond them. Flexcraft is an idea to keep your eye on, but also one that will need an extensive network of collaboration to become a reality and make a contribution to the mobility internet.
by Ricardo Reis
web design & development 262media.com