A few days ago, we talked about how the US Navy is utilizing VR tech (including Oculus Rift) for a futuristic communication ambit code-named Project Blueshark. Well, this time around, BAE Systems have contrived a virtual reality scope that will allow their engineers to ‘remotely’ create 3D ship models and renderings – through a series of what can be termed as ‘visualization suites’.
In essence, the virtual system is envisaged as a collective network that can be remotely accessed by engineers from different sites, like Portsmouth, Bristol and Glasgow. This in turn hints at a more effective degree of collaboration between the designers, while also allowing better cooperation among the material suppliers and even customers.
What what exactly does the VR suite entail? In essence, it comprises of a laser tracking technology that emanates from an interactive wand. This wand mechanism allows the engineer/operator to ‘go through’ the detailed 3D ship model from a variety of directions and angles. In other words, the designer can check out and examine the specific spatial denominations, particular fittings and dedicated equipment inside the ship in a more efficient as well as faster manner.
In practical terms, this opens up a new streamlined construction scope for advanced warships from the Royal Navy (since BAE Systems act as their principal shipbuilder). This is what Mick Ord, MD at BAE Systems Naval Ships business, had to say about the VR tech –
Visualization technology is transforming the way we design, build and deliver complex warships. By creating a virtual prototype, we can mature and optimise a ship’s design and gain a real understanding of the vessel and the experience of those serving on board before manufacturing begins.
This new tool forms part of our wider investment activity as we create a world class UK naval engineering business. New facilities, processes and ways of working will enable a step change in efficiency, quality and safety, helping to ensure we remain competitive and deliver the best value for money to our customers.
And, as expected, the VR suites are already up and running, with their pilot programs being instrumental in the building of Royal Navy’s brand new Offshore Patrol Vessels. Furthermore, the suite tool is also used for the design of the Global Combat Ship (Type 26), a state-of-the-art war-frigate lineup that is currently funded by Britain’s Ministry of War.