Boeing plans to build its next plane in the Metaverse

Following the recent 737 MAX crisis, Boeing is looking to do some serious restructuring, and it turns to the Metaverse for solutions.
December 17, 2021 - Tom Peters

The Metaverse has been a hot topic for most of this year, and we have witnessed various brands jumping on the bandwagon to secure a place at the forefront of innovation. Boeing looks to the Metaverse as it seeks to revitalize its operations and overhaul its entire production process.

Boeing recently announced its plans to build its next plane in the Metaverse.

The plan is supposed to unfold over the course of a decade with massive investment and a couple of changes to how manufacturing works.

How the plan works

 

Boeing’s strategy is to combine design, production, and airline services operations under a single digital process.


This plan would involve each member of a team of over 100 mechanics, each equipped with a US$3,500 Microsoft Hololens headset – for a mixed reality experience, increased reliance on robotics, and developing a single, integrated digital hub of information.

Engineers will build virtual 3D “digital twins”  versions of their next aircraft designs with the headsets and run simulation tests. Each design will be linked to a “digital thread” containing every piece of information right from the beginning of the project, including parts, certifications, and specific airline requirements.


It is a long-term plan, which would take about ten years and US$15 billion in capital. However, Boeing believes it can integrate the Metaverse features into its operations within two years, and a plane can even be expected from the new system in four to five years.


“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.” said Boeing’s Chief Engineer, Greg Hyslop. 

Boeing suffered some setbacks in the past few years, one of which was the 737 max groundings due to manufacturing problems. There are hopes that its Metaverse plans would minimize future complications and help Boeing reassert itself as a leader in aircraft construction.

 

“It’s about strengthening engineering. We are talking about changing the way we work across the entire company,“ Hyslop commented. 

Boeing is far from the only manufacturer with plans for a virtual reality designing and collaboration process; its competitors, Airbus, are also working on integrating the technology into their workflow. Automobile maker Ford also uses VR technology to help product design teams to collaborate on complex projects globally.  

 

Photo: Boeing's Twitter @BoeingAirplanes

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