Aerospace company Boeing had a bit of a mixed year. One of its planes went down, its flying refuelling drone did well, and then its Starliner was set to launch… until it didn’t. But, as with most of us, they’ve decided that next year is their year. Well, the next two years will be their year.
See, Boeing’s planning on doing something new. Something awesome. Something that’ll make people sit up and take notice. The word ‘metaverse’ is coming up, you can just feel it.
Boeing plans to build its next plane inside the metaverse, as it is. What’s more, the company intends to squeeze its changes — which reach far beyond designing in a virtual space — into as little as two years. Part of this includes increased reliance on robotics, the integration of its design and supply chain, and mechanics working on craft around the world using Microsoft’s Hololens headsets.
Designing a plane virtually could be interesting, particularly if designs can be tested immediately. This is already done. The company’s 777X airliner and T-7A RedHawk training jet were developed digitally, but they have faced technical problems. This new idea would keep every bit of design and development in a single location — right down to parts lists. This would allow for speedier investigations, in the event something goes south. It would also permit speedier construction since the supply chain can be hooked into the same system.
Boeing chief engineer, Greg Hyslop, told Reuters, “You will get speed, you will get improved quality, better communication, and better responsiveness when issues occur. When the quality from the supply base is better, when the airplane build goes together more smoothly, when you minimize re-work, the financial performance will follow from that.”
But don’t expect to see a digitally-developed aircraft turn up in the next two years. As ambitious as Boeing’s plans are, it’ll take time to convert an entire industry to an integrated system like this. And, once the transition is made, it’ll be more ‘smart city’ than ‘metaverse’.