FUCAM project - the cabin of the future

The 2025 passenger cabin – the FUCAM Project 2016-2019

Reiner Hertl
4 minutes

What international trends will the passenger cabin of the future follow? What demands will tomorrow’s passengers make on comfort and communication, safety and health, entertainment and well-being? And what innovative cabin technologies will be capable of satisfying these needs? The FUCAM: FUTURE CABIN FOR THE ASIAN MARKET project came up with very future-centric answers to these questions and came to an end in January 2019.

Passenger cabin designs for short and medium-haul aircraft beyond 2025

The 3-year collaborative project between the EU and Japan focussed on three key markets in the Asian region: Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Nine research and industrial partners collaborated in a consortium to develop passenger cabin concepts: eight from European countries and Jamco from Japan. This therefore offered the European aviation sector opportunities to collaborate in the development of the aircraft cabin of the future and help shape its new requirements.

That was the precise focus of FUCAM: translating passengers’ demands into cabin requirements. The project’s remit and scenarios thus ranged from boarding and disembarking to connectivity (e-mails, internet etc.) and seat design. Conceptually, the project focussed on short- and medium-haul aircraft, such as the A320 or 737 ranges, and on how cabin technology could be retrofitted from 2025.

EU funding, EU-Japanese collaboration and the flying experience

The FUCAM project is an EU Horizon 2020 collaborative project, an EU programme to fund research and innovation, awarded by the European Commission. It also strengthened European and Japanese cooperation. At the SUNJET II Forum on “Europe-Japan Cooperation in the Domain of R&T for Aviation” at the last International Paris Air Show, Dr. Helge Fromm of Airbus Group Innovations stressed the “good personal relationships” and prevailing “strong team spirit”.

The Forum discussed Business Class, Super Economy Class and Lower Deck scenarios as research objectives, along with safety and health aspects, including electromagnetic radiation. The project is considering passenger experiences and how new life can be breathed into the experience of flying, whether in the form of dining areas, child play areas, coffee or beauty areas, chill-out modules, relaxation zones or experience containers. Over and above this, the project is also looking at issues including seating capacity and seat design, possibly wider middle seats for families or depending on body size.

The cabin interior concepts and possible future cabin architecture include topics such as the opening up of the cargo space to create a lounge area, air quality and cabin lighting. International corporations gathered under one roof to work on this:

High-calibre partners combine their knowledge and expertise

Key representatives from along the entire cabin interior design value chain cooperated in the FUCAM project coordinated by Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Group Innovations. The team included reputable representatives from basic research through to production: Airbus Group Innovations, Airbus Operations, STELIA Aerospace, EASN-TIS, Aalto and Cranfield University, Mormedi SA, Bertrandt and Jamco. They alternated leadership of six Work Packages (WPs) to research lower deck scenarios, cabin concepts, cabin architecture and cabin technologies.

What methodology and working structures are employed to achieve objectives in such a complex project? A brief overview of the phases of the FUCAM project provides an interesting insight:

The path to new cabin concepts

The FUCAM project developed cabin concepts tailored to the Japanese and Chinese markets in six Work Packages.

WP 1 “Project Management” was led by Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Group Innovations, while WP 2 “Customer Trends & User Requirements” was led by Aalto University from Finland. The latter created the input for Work Package 3 “Concept Definition” led by Mormedi. It developed the cabin concepts and their features, specified and developed them and then provided a technical description. WP 4 “Technology Scouting and Roadmaps”, under the leadership of the UK’s Cranfield University, identified the technologies that would drive forward and implement these cabin concepts. WP 5 “Integration and Validation” under the leadership of Airbus Operations evaluated the concept developments in terms of their feasibility and validated this. Work Package 6 “General Project Dissemination” under the leadership of EASN-TIS finally focussed on the technical communication of the results to the target groups.

FUCAM final event at the end of January 2019 in Tokyo and a view from the cabin of the future

Following FUCAM’s attendance at the Future Travel Experience Asia exhibition in November 2018, the final event to bring the 3-year long project to a close was held on 23 January 2019. FUCAM’s concept developments and visionary cabin solutions were showcased and discussed in Tokyo. Find out more about the project and its results on the FUCAM project’s website.

So how will we experience flying in future? Passengers without a window seat can already look out through virtual cabin windows in the Emirates First Class cabin in the Boeing 777. Where is aviation heading on the various markets and what passenger cabins will there be? Will we increasingly feel much less that we are in a plane in the air in favour of new flying experiences?

We would warmly invite you to discuss new cabin concepts with us in person and find out more about the latest product developments and ideas from SFS Intec GmbH, the WingMag sponsor, on the SFS and WingMag stand at the AIX: 2 – 4 April 2019, Aircraft Interiors EXPO Hamburg, Booth 6B20. Let’s have a chat – we look forward to your visit!

by Reiner Hertl

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