NYK Group company MTI, Japan Marine United Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group company Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, Furuno Electric , Japan Radio Company, BEMAC Corporation, ClassNK, and NAPA have come together to establish the ‘Maritime and Ocean Digital Engineering’ (MODE) cooperation programme at the University of Tokyo.
The programme, expected to last for five years, aims to promote and enhance digital engineering technology and skills for the maritime sector by building a cooperative simulation platform. Japan’s maritime industry is considered to be facing challenges, such as developing and implementing new technologies in the context of global decarbonisation, maintaining shipping services by integrating autonomous ships to assist seafarers and improve safety, and ensuring high productivity among increasing complexity in ship design and manufacturing process.
MODE aims to address these challenges by using model-based development (MBD) and model-based systems engineering (MBSE), which are increasingly being introduced in the automobile industry. MBD and MBSE approach problems by examining the functions of products and components as computer models, and then checking their behaviours through simulations. MBD and MBSE enable not only optimisation of complex system designs, but also the creation of MODE as a collaborative development process involving a wide range of stakeholders, including shippers and operators.
The programme for research and education using MBD and MBSE for the maritime field will be established by forming a broad network between the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences and Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo and research institutes around the world that are promoting advanced engineering initiatives, and relevant experts from other industries such as automobile, aerospace, and aviation. MODE aims to develop, implement, and upskill users in the development of new technologies. It is expected to expand into related maritime fields such as offshore wind power generation and subsea resource development.
An inaugural symposium is scheduled for 4 October at the University of Tokyo. MODE is committed to supporting next-generation technologies and skills in Japan’s maritime sector, and acting as a platform for collaboration between industry, academia and government.