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Indra and the Spanish Navy have successfully tested Artificial Intelligence (AI) based systems for vessel maintenance to predict malfunctions and improve the maintenance and availability of the service’s fleet.

This type of intelligence differs from the supervised variety in that, instead of learning the procedure that should be followed to solve a given problem, the machine learns to detect the problems and applies the logical operations that any computer might employ to reach a solution by its own means. This is done without human assistance or having to be told how to do it, a company official explains.

In the case of the Soprene Project, Indra engineers taught the system to understand how the engines of F100 frigates and BAM Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) work, providing it with an enormous amount of detail and precision. With this information, the system was capable of detecting deviations in normal operations.

To perform the tests and verify the accuracy of the results, Indra used the data records stored by the Spanish Navy’s Data Monitoring and Analysis Centre (CESADAR) in Cartagena, a leading authority in Spain in the use of mechanical malfunction prediction techniques. CESADAR has promoted and led the technology side of the Soprene Project in the Spanish Navy since 2018.

Improvement

The potential of non-monitored technology is much greater than the supervised variety and offers many advantages for the maintenance of next-generation vessels. The system will be capable of attaining results that are not predefined and has been developed to check the functioning of the F100 frigate and OPV engines. It can be easily adapted to monitor other systems on these vessels or others, and even be brought into other defence or civilian fields. The system does not require the past performance records of a unit to be trained. It can thus overcome one of the toughest barriers that prevent conventional AI systems from predicting malfunctions that a newly developed vessel will experience, one that has not yet been at sea.

For the Spanish Navy, the use of this technology means a major operational advantage, as it can plan its missions with greater precision and bring forward or postpone repairs as needed.

J C Menon