The digital twin, augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics, automation, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence… The list of new technologies that have emerged over the past decade to bring digitalisation to shipyards as well as on board surface combatants and submarines grows every year.
Their introduction across all phases of these platforms’ lifecycles is intended to bring an equally long list of benefits. From design and production though to maintenance, digital technologies hold the promise of facilitating the development of ‘incredibly complex systems of systems’, as many interviewed for this exclusive report referred to surface ships and submarines today.
Digital technologies also have the potential to improve the production process, thus increasing efficiency while reducing costs.
Nonetheless, the speed at which such technologies are appearing can at times bring its own challenges. From hiring and training skilled personnel to the wider perspectives of overhauling organisational culture, ‘digital transformation is a matter of strategy, not only a question of available IT systems’, Massimo Debenedetti, Research and Innovation Director of the Military Ships unit at Fincantieri, told Shephard.
What, then, are the principal benefits and challenges of introducing digital technologies throughout a vessel’s lifecycle, and how is this managed across the industry?
David Hurst, Managing Editor
MAY 2023 | technology report | NAVAL ENGINEERING
In the first part of this exclusive technology report, Dr Alix Valenti investigates how digital engineering can bake innovation and future-proofing into a ship or submarine long before any metal has been cut.
In the second part of the report, Harry Lye examines how digital engineering technologies are improving maritime maintenance for the better and future-proofing vessels to be ready for new equipment fits and training crews how to use them.