When you think of how an airplane might look in 30 years, do you think of an alien-looking sleek metal spacecraft? Not necessarily. Clip-Air – an ingenious project of Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – is working to make traveling easy, less frustrating and much more environmentally friendly. And in the process, it will revolutionize the way we think of air transport.
The idea behind Clip-Air is to combine the speed of air transport with the accessibility of rail transport: two factors that strongly influence our choices in transportation. Using modular capsules, the system can be extended beyond aviation by transferring the very same capsules to trains, trucks, or boats. Passengers would be able to first board and disembark from the capsules directly at their companies, and later in train stations, harbors, and airports.
Imagine boarding a plane at a Paris railway station and disembarking in the middle of Moscow without ever setting foot in an air terminal?
An initial series of studies has demonstrated Clip-Air’s potential in terms of transport capacity. But Clip-Air’s ambition envisages alternative fuel sources that are less polluting than those used today.