OFD is proving central to Rolls-Royce and their strategic development activities looking beyond the engine as described in a recent FlightGlobal article. Their IntelligentEngine concept is a vision in which products are increasingly connected, contextually aware and comprehending. This vision is already becoming a reality in latest fleet of their Pearl engines. Through the Open Flight Deck programme Rolls-Royce is developing a number of technologies which will enable an engine to independently understand its own condition and request action from the flight crew to improve operational/ service outcomes.
Ensuring proper integration of human factors consideration when defining such features is an essential part of the design process. Through OFD, Rolls-Royce has been able to engage with human factors experts at Southampton University to develop human machine interfaces/applications, as well as defining the test and validation scenarios.
Implementation of these interfaces and applications using the GE Open Toolchain has enabled R-R to act as a third party application developer on the flight deck. To test the human-in-the-loop aspects of the programme Rolls-Royce has invested in a representative, flexible cockpit environment as part of the Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) at Cranfield University, where Rolls-Royce is investigating the benefits of greater integration between powerplant and airframe.