Airbus A320 plane flying above clouds in a blue sky

Next generation flight design

Airbus needed to design faster, safer, more cost-effective aircraft so a team at UWE Bristol created 'OntoREM', a piece of software that combines advanced system requirements modelling with business requirements to achieve incredible results.

Enabling design and business needs

Requirements modelling has now become the standard driver for designing new pieces of technology to meet user needs. But, while fantastic at enabling design, it doesn't make any allowance for the needs of the business. Dr Mohammed Odeh said:

"If you're an engineer then you're constantly trying to balance your system modelling with your business requirements; such as reducing costs and sticking to the schedule." 

"We wanted to create a system that would do both – making the whole process of development much quicker, more efficient and less costly, with higher quality."

It was something that had never been tried before, but Dr Odeh and his team of computer scientists believed it was an idea with great potential.

The idea in flight

The team knew that designing this type of system would be truly challenging; it would require a totally different approach, driven by what the user knows rather than just the defined processes. Their research resulted in both a knowledge and process driven requirements engineering platform.

It was a major breakthrough that they called OntoREM – and it wasn’t long before the Airbus team, led by Dr Mario Kossman, requested that OntoREM be used in a number of high profile case studies:

"For example, Airbus were developing a new wing and needed to integrate operational maintenance and repair aspects into the design. OntoREM not only made this possible, it improved it and significantly reduced costs" said Dr Odeh.

The benefits

OntoREM has now been used in a variety of different aircraft programs, demonstrating it can significantly improve the quality of requirements in terms of correctness, completeness and consistency. The research has led to improvements in the resulting design solutions, and at a fraction of the cost compared with traditional aircraft design processes.

It does not come as a surprise that Airbus continues to work with UWE Bristol to industrialise OntoREM, further enabling their engineers to develop world-class aircraft:

"For companies like Airbus, accuracy is crucial. Not just accuracy in the design and manufacturing, but also in cost estimates, risk and time management. That's where OntoREM has really come into its own. Our UWE Bristol research has redesigned the way engineers will approach their projects".

Dr Mohammed Odeh

Back to top