Rolls-Royce has been awarded funding by the Ministry of Defence to further develop and demonstrate the ‘Artificial Chief Engineer’ technology.
The tech is essentially an autonomous machinery control system which “allows naval vessels to undertake long endurance missions with less human interaction”.
“Developed by Rolls-Royce, Artificial Chief Engineer is a critical enabler for autonomous missions by acting as the equivalent of the engineering department responsible for the health and the operation of an unmanned vessel’s machinery. Navies intend to increase their use of optionally-manned and unmanned vessels to project power further for less cost by reducing reliance on manpower, allowing higher-risk or longer-endurance missions, and by lowering the procurement and operating costs of future platforms.”
The funding to continue the development, has been awarded under the MoD’s Defence and Security Accelerator ‘Intelligent Ship Phase Two’ programme, which is used to de-risk and evaluate technologies and approaches to enhance the armed forces’ technical advantage.
Ben Thorp, Programme Executive for Naval Electrical, Automation and Controls, Rolls-Royce Defence said:
“This is incredibly good news for our Artificial Chief Engineer capability, which we launched at DSEI in 2019. Our involvement in this funding programme, certainly strengthens our position with the UK MOD for Unmanned Surface Vessel enablers. This funding will also increase the technical maturity of Artificial Chief Engineer for further applications across the breadth of the marine market, both Naval and Commercial where we are seeing increasing levels of demand for this type of technology.”
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