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AGILE Report Summary

Project ID: 636202
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AGILE (Aircraft 3rd Generation MDO for Innovative Collaboration of Heterogeneous Teams of Experts)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Current aircraft development programs are realized as collaborative and multi-organizational design processes. A major challenge hampering cost effective design processes is the integration of multidisciplinary competences within the so-called virtual enterprise. The challenge is even greater when the required design services are provided by heterogeneous teams of specialists that are distributed among different organizations, and across nations. On the other hand, by nature, individual SME, IND, RES and HES alone can neither establish all the necessary competences nor system competence. Therefore, the development of a “more competitive supply chain” is the key-enabler to deliver innovative aircraft products in a time and cost efficient manner.

The state-of-the-art Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization (MDO) capabilities may rely on high performance computing infrastructures, efficient optimization strategies, sophisticated simulation based analyses in all the flight physics domains, and robust process management frameworks. Nevertheless, the exploitation of the full MDO potentials for the development of a complete aircraft is still an open challenge. Analyzing the current generation of MDO design systems, the AGILE Consortium has identified that major obstacles are largely related to the efforts required to setup (more than resolve) the complex collaborative development process.

AGILE ambition is to achieve the reduction of 20% in time to converge the design of an aircraft and a 40% in time needed to setup and solve the multidisciplinary problem in a team of heterogeneous specialists.
Hence, the overall AGILE project objective is to achieve a significant reduction in aircraft development costs through a more competitive supply chain able to reduce the time to market of innovative aircraft products.

The overall project objective is translated into the following 4 technical objectives:

1. the development of advanced MDO techniques, and effective setup and integration methodologies in the design process reducing the convergence time in aircraft optimization
2. the development of processes and techniques for efficient multisite collaboration in overall aircraft design teams
3. the development of knowledge enabled information technologies to support interdisciplinary design task by processes formalization and automation
4. to develop and publish an open MDO test suite to deploy the AGILE Paradigm

The composition of the AGILE consortium reflects the heterogeneous structure characteristic for today’s aircraft development teams and virtual supply chains: including airframe OEMs, suppliers, as well as specialist design teams. Hence, multiple collaborative scenarios are formulated and resolved during the project.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

AGILE is developing the next generation of aircraft Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization processes, which target significant reductions in aircraft development costs and time to market, leading to cost-effective and greener aircraft solutions.

AGILE has formulated a novel design methodology, the so called “AGILE Paradigm”, accelerating the deployment of collaborative, large scale design and optimization frameworks, and especially:

1. Accelerating the setup and the deployment of distributed, cross-organizational MDO processes
2. Supporting the collaborative operation of design systems: integrating people and tools
3. Exploiting the potential offered by the latest technologies in collaborative design and optimization

During the first year of the project, the AGILE methodologies have been applied to the design and optimization of a passenger’s transportation aircraft targeting 2020 entry-into-service date. Therefore, AGILE has formulated, setup, and operated a collaborative overall aircraft design process.

The deployed process targets the aircraft early development stages, and integrates 16 specialists’ design competences which are provided as engineering services by 9 Partners, and are distributed among 9 nations.
The developed AGILE framework is initialized by the specification of the aircraft requirements, and an optimum design solution is delivered by the MDO system which addresses multiple disciplines, including the assessment of the aircraft flying qualities. The realized AGILE framework is fully automated, multidisciplinary, cross-organizational, and geographically distributed, and it is among the first processes ever realized with the mentioned features.

Therefore, at the mid-term of the project an extensive set of design competences (simulation based analysis and optimization methods) are accessible by the AGILE framework, covering multiple aircraft design domains. An AGILE collaborative architecture is formalized and implemented to flexibly deploy the cross-organizational MDO system. Knowledge based applications are developed to drastically reduce the setup time of large scale optimization problems.

The overall AGILE Paradigm is currently adopted to investigate several design and optimization scenarios, and will be deployed during the rest of the project to design unconventional aircraft configurations.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

AGILE Project is developing the so called 3rd generation MDO processes, which will support the development of the next generation of aerospace products.

The AGILE Consortium has successfully demonstrated the application of the novel AGILE methodologies to the design and optimization of a transportation aircraft product. The progressing AGILE developments will enable the design of aircraft configurations having the potential of a substantially reduced environmental impact. The AGILE methodologies are applied to 6 novel aircraft configurations, to demonstrate the potentials of the developed technologies on diversified medium-term, and long-term products. All the results will be used to extend the knowledge, and mature the TRL on the configurations with high relevance for future applications. A database of unconventional configurations will be released for further exploitation activities.

The establishment of effective collaborative design methodologies is currently acknowledged by industrial environments as a key enabler for the development processes of future products. At the same time, the need to introduce collaborative MDO techniques within educational activities is also well recognized by the Academic, Research and Industry communities. Therefore, the AGILE Academy initiative is conceived to infuse into the academic organizations and educational environments the AGILE methodologies. AGILE will make available the developed technologies via an Open MDO Test Suite, enabling to reproduce and implement the AGILE methodologies. Prototypes have already been developed at this stage of the project.

Furthermore, an AGILE is contributing to establish and strengthen the collaborative MDO community by organizing multiple AGILE dissemination and exploitation initiatives.

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