Biomimicry – or biologically inspired engineering – is the study and imitation of nature’s best-kept secrets to help solve human challenges. Today, nature is providing Airbus with invaluable insight – from the flight secrets of birds to the movement of sharks – on how to make aircraft lighter and more fuel efficient.
Our biomimicry projects
A revolutionary approach to aircraft wing design
This remote-controlled demonstrator aircraft features “semi-aeroelastic” hinged wingtips inspired by the albatross that can flex to wind gusts. The technique reduces drag and combats the effects of turbulence and wind gusts.
Wake-energy retrieval to boost environmental performance
This demonstrator project aims to prove the viability of “wake-energy retrieval” – a “V-shaped” flight technique used by migrating geese when flying across long distances – for commercial aircraft. This collaborative activity could produce fuel savings of between 5-10% per fello’fly trip.
Bird of Prey
This theoretical design is a hybrid-electric, turbo-propeller aircraft for regional air transportation. It mimics the eagle’s wing and tail structure, and features individually controlled feathers that provide active flight control.
These vertical wing-tip extensions that resemble a shark’s dorsal fin significantly reduce the size of the wingtip vortex, thus reducing induced drag. Today, all members of the A320neo Family are fitted with sharklets as a standard.