Boeing's latest ecoDemonstrator plane to test out smart toilets and external cameras
Boeing is lifting another suite of experimental technologies into the air as part of its EcoDemonstrator program, again packing a modified jetliner with forward-looking features hoped to one day improve air travel. Traveling aboard this time around will be 50 projects in all, including ones geared toward smart toilets and others toward improving passengers' view outside the plane.
Boeing has been exploring new aviation technologies through its ecoDemonstrator program since 2012. This has involved five different types of Boeing planes and 112 different projects, with the world's first "green diesel," lotus leaf-inspired wings and ice-shedding exterior coatings among those to take flight.
The sixth iteration of Boeing's ecoDemonstrator is a modified 777 Freighter, and this year it will be used to test new ways to share digital information between air traffic control, the flight desk and an airline's operational headquarters, along with new technologies that connect different parts of the cabin.
This could include making the galleys and toilets "smart", as as well as sensors to automatically detect and adjust temperature and humidity. Also built into the latest version of the ecoDemonstrator will be a set of cameras to test out how passengers can see more of their surroundings outside the plane.
"This is the latest addition to our ecoDemonstrator program, where we look at how crew and passengers can have a better experience and how technologies can make flying safer, more efficient and more enjoyable," said Mike Sinnett, vice president of product strategy and future airplane development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Using the 777 flying test bed lets us learn faster and move forward on improvements much quicker and with greater fidelity in defining their value."
The first test flights are set to begin in the fall (Northern hemisphere).