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.
eXtra Performance Wing
This demonstrator project focused on accelerating and validating technologies that will improve and optimise wing aerodynamics and performance for any future aircraft. Its applications would be compatible with any propulsion solution and aircraft configuration and would reduce CO₂ emissions, contributing greatly to Airbus’ decarbonisation roadmap.
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.