L’avenir de l’aéronautique civile

HAMPTON, VIRGINIE – L’aéronautique civile est en train de devenir une industrie “mature”, avec tous les inconvénients que cela suppose. Durant des décennies, les progrès technologiques ont été essentiellement évolutifs et le secteur repose encore en grande partie sur les avions long-courrier, avec l’émergence d’une composante “petits jets” et l’héritage de produits et marchés de l’aviation générale. Toutefois, il apparaît de plus en plus clairement que le secteur ne peut survivre sous cette forme.

Les principaux problèmes dont souffre le secteur sont la pollution due aux émissions, la concurrence accrue (notamment celle des télécommunications, qui réduisent les besoins en voyages d’affaires), les inefficacités et les retards des contrôles aériens, l’élargissement des restrictions anti-bruit, les questions de sécurité et un cadre général dépendant beaucoup du prix des carburants. Trouver des solutions à tous ces problèmes nécessitera sans doute une réinvention complète de la technologie aéronautique.

Les plus grands espoirs résident dans les révolutions actuelles des bio-, info- et nano-technologies, ainsi que des technologies énergétiques et quantiques. La révolution informatique et le développement de l’intelligence “en essaim” rendent possible la solution la plus avancéeamp#160;: un “espace aérien numérique” entièrement automatisé en termes de contrôle aérien, de navigation et d’exploitation des appareils. Si l’exploitation automatisée des avion est déjà en train de se banaliser – notamment dans le secteur militaire – une accélération de cette tendance nécessiterait un espace aérien pareillement automatisé.

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