Rolls-Royce partners with AI company to support its aero-fleet engines

Rolls-Royce has partnered with Uptake to leverage data science and machine-learning tech to optimize its Trent range of engines


Rolls-Royce has partnered with US-based AI software company Uptake to expand and support its "digital ecosystem" of aircraft engines.

According to Uptake, the partnership will complement Rolls-Royce in-house data innovation hub, R2 Data Labs, launched in December 2017, and will offer its data science and machine learning tech to enhance its Trent aero-engines. The Trent engines power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, A380 and A350 Airbus.

Uptake, headquartered in Chicago, integrates AI and IoT technology to offer industrial companies proficient analysis of their data assets – using pre-trained data science models and industry-specific content, "to turn mountains of data into actionable insights that drive financial outcomes".

"Industrial businesses have an incredible advantage given the massive amount of asset data they have at their fingertips," said Uptake senior VP of portfolio and industries Nick Farrant.

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Since 1999, Rolls-Royce has been leveraging data analytics with its TotalCare service package to optimize their engines and enhance the management of their Trent fleet.

Tom Palmer, senior VP of services for civil aerospace business at Rolls-Royce, noted: "We've been applying analytics as a key part of our TotalCare services strategy for many years and are always looking to advance our digital approach to improve the quality and value of our services.

"With industrial AI and machine-learning techniques, we can increase the uptime of our engines and help customers extend the life and value of their critical assets"

However, the partnership may be seen as a response to reported engine issues from earlier this year, within its Trent 1000 and Trent 900 fleet, as reported by the Guardian earlier this year, with costs to remedy the issue estimated at more than £1bn ($1.2bn) over the next three years.

Rolls-Royce currently has customers in more than 150 countries, including airlines, armed forces, marine customers, and power and nuclear customers. In 2017 it had a reported annual underlying revenue of £15bn ($19bn).

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