The worlds of aerospace and automotive are moving ever-closer. Now, the combination of Williams Advanced Engineering’s Formula 1 experience and JPA Design’s aerospace expertise promises to bring new innovation to the aircraft cabin.

The partners are looking to use new approaches to interior design and lightweight materials to advance cabin layout, passenger comfort, fuel-saving and carbon emission reductions.

Proprietary technologies from both parties will be used to save weight, whilst increasing comfort and space.

The partnership, announced in February, was formed in the light of new investment in lighter aircraft made of composite materials, such as carbon fibre in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350.

What automotive brings to aerospace

Stu Olden, Senior Commercial Manager, Williams Advanced Engineering, told FINN: “We’ve been working in a wide range of sectors recently, commercialising Formula-1-derived technology. We see aerospace as a prime candidate for the next area to work in. We joined with JPA because of their experience and knowledge in this area, and we think it’s a really good fit.”

Ben Orson, Managing Director, JPA Design, added: We’ve always been very strong on overcoming engineering challenges, but very often, we’re relying on third-party companies to do that for us. Working with Williams, we can bring that work much closer, get more control and hopefully deliver more exciting solutions for our customers.”

“Initially we’re looking at seating,” Orson noted. “But then we want to look at the entirety of the interior of the aircraft – that could be cabin linings, galleys, anything you can imagine.”

Learning from each other

While aerospace can learn a lot from automotive about scaling production, maximising space and using lightweight materials, there are lessons to learn in the opposite direction too.

Olden said: “Obviously, the automotive, Formula 1 and motorsport industries have to adhere to very strict regulations and certification, so we’re used to that. But we realised that there are some specific niche aspects within the aerospace industry that we need to learn about.

“That’s why we’ve engaged a certification agency to work alongside ourselves and JPA in order to help us to navigate through those channels.”

The partners plan to have a product available to share with airlines in the next 18 months.

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