Microsoft has agreed a deal with Rolls-Royce to improve the British manufacturer’s engines and fuel efficiency and cut flight disruptions, it has been announced.
Rolls, whose engines power more than 50,000 flights around the world every month, will use Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite to analyse data from its products to improve their performance.
Information on engine health, air traffic control, route restrictions and fuel usage will be collected from hundreds of sensors inside the engines to detect “operational anomalies and trends”. Using Azure Stream Analytics and Microsoft Power BI, Rolls will then study the figures to improve how its engines run, potentially saving millions of dollars a year.
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Rolls runs a scheme entitled TotalCare, which allows airlines to pay for the time they were able to fly their planes rather than for repairs, meaning improving engine efficiency is important.
“Our customers are looking for ways to leverage the digital landscape to increase efficiency and improve their operations,” said Tom Palmer, senior vice president of Services, Civil Aerospace, at Rolls. “By working with Microsoft we can really transform our digital services, supporting customers right across engine-related aircraft operations to make a real difference to performance.”
Jason Zander, corporate vice-president of Microsoft Azure, said: “Rolls-Royce has always been a pioneer in engine services, and this collaboration will create a new digital engine for Rolls-Royce to deliver an even better service to its customers across its world-class engine fleet through Microsoft Azure.”
The announcement came amid Hannover Messe, the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology. More than 5,000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries are participating in the show, which will attract around 220,000 visitors.
Giving the keynote speech at Hannover Messe, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said he believed that a digital transformation is remaking companies and their factories, bringing manufacturing and technology even closer together.
The bringing together of information technology and operations technology “is pervasive”, Nadella said.
“It changes how you will engage with your customers, how you in fact empower your own employees inside every one of your organizations to be able to gain insight from big data, take action from big data, and to optimize your operations and change the very nature of the business models around your industrial products.”