Intelligent Engine Could Repair Itself

February 6, 2018
New Rolls-Royce initiative blurs the boundaries of engines, service, and data

Rolls-Royce’s R2 Data Labs, an acceleration hub for data innovation launched in December 2017, announced its IntelligentEngine vision yesterday in Singapore.

The IntelligentEngine vision is based on a belief that the worlds of product and service have become so closely connected that they are now inseparable. The IntelligentEngine concept is based on bringing together the physical product (engine), service, and digital capabilities to design engines that are increasingly connected, contextually aware and comprehending. For example:

  • Connected – with other engines, its support ecosystem, and with its customer, allowing for regular, two-way flow of information between many parties.
  • Contextually aware – of its operating context, constraints and the needs of the customer, allowing it to respond to the environment around it without human intervention.
  • Comprehending – learning from its own experiences and from its network of peers to adjust its behavior and achieve best performance.

Rolls-Royce is first working with jet engines at the Rolls-Royce’s R2 Data Labs, an acceleration hub for data innovation launched in December 2017.

Their design vision will allow the company to design and test engines digitally, service them remotely and manage them through their digital twin. The engine - and the vehicle it powers - will use data from sources such as weather stations, flight plans, and onboard self-diagnostic programs to perform the entire operating task efficiently and safely within its realtime environment and operating context. The engine's AI technology will use Big Data to anticipate and adjust its performance on-the-fly, improving efficiency, reliability, and lowering costs and risk.

Rolls-Royce says that as the engine digitally communicates with other parts of the product/service/data triad, it will be able to deal with issues before they become problems. Rolls-Royce says that perhaps one day, advanced robotics and AI may allow the engines to not only know when it needs maintenance, but to carry it out by itself.

According to Rolls-Royce, IntelligentEngine is an extension of the company's TotalCare service, which began in the '90s after the company recognized that selling aircraft engines was linked to the services to maintain and upgrade them.

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