This might be innovation coupling with technology at its best! Might sound like something created by Q, the tech guy in James Bond movies. A plane that lands on a runway shrug its wings off, turns into a train and rolls on to rails to drop off at the nearest local station.
Well yes, this is exactly, what the French entrepreneur, who’s made millions by connecting engineers with industrial groups, is pitching to Boeing Co. and others. “Link & Fly” is Akka Technologies’s new flagship aircraft design, with wings that are placed off to hasten turnover at airports and make boarding easier and closer to passengers’ homes.
Akka’s chief executive officer, Maurice Ricci, added in an interview that, “After cars go electric and autonomous, the next big disruption will be in airplanes”. Boeing is among prime customer targets for Akka, as it seeks to limit its dependence on the likes of Airbus SE and Renault SA in Europe.
With this futuristic concept by Akka, passengers would board a train-like tube at a neighborhood station and that would have their retinas scanned for security during the ride to the airport. Wings would then be attached to the pod for take-off. The company has also showcased the idea in a 3D mock-up video, gathering interest from potential customers in Asia, without naming any company.
While Akka’s not banking on convincing a plane maker to necessarily build the entire “Link & Fly” concept, however, it is betting on the design to be an attention grabber and a showcase, parts of which are likely to end up definitely in customers’ commercial air crafts down the line.
Akka, which right now has a market value of EUR 1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) and whose biggest shareholder is Ricci, employs engineers that customers can hire on a project basis as consultants. The company has already developed an autonomous car concept in 2008 and in 2014 partnered with Dassault Systemes to offer services to car makers.
Right now, the stock has risen about 23 percent this year, multiple times the 1.8 percent increase in the benchmark CAC 40 Index and a matching jump in the broader SBF120 Index.
Talking of Akka, this generates 75 percent of its sales in France and Germany to become more dependent on auto manufacturing with the takeover of a Daimler engineering unit in 2010. The Paris-based company, in fact, hopes that this new concept would woo new aeronautics customers in the US where the purchase of Texas-based engineering firm PDS Tech in June is the first step. Ricci expects the acquisition to close in three to six months., where he added that “Planes need to become more efficient, less polluting and less noisy. Our role is to point our customers to technologies of the future.”