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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R019134/1
Title: Considering Uncertainty in the Development of Aircraft Systems
Principal Investigator: Sartor, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Defence and Space Safran Power UK Ltd University of the West of England
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 April 2019 Ends: 30 November 2020 Value (£): 100,509
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Nov 2017 Manufacturing Prioritisation Panel - Nov 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In industry, the system development process, often illustrated as a V model, is generally considered best practice for the design of aircraft systems, such as a brake control system. In the V model, the first arm (descending) represents the requirements specification and validation, and the second arm (ascending) represents implementation verification. This process has been adopted by many industries where safety is critical (aerospace, defence, rail, nuclear, etc.). Today, modelling and simulation are often used in industry to aid system design and support the validation of requirements.

The difficulty is, early in the development process, system requirements may be uncertain and the system design is immature. Therefore, assumptions are made about both requirements and design without quantifying the uncertainty or considering the impact the uncertainty may have. As a result, additional requirements and design loops, as well as late changes, are often needed to fix errors that are found late in development. The consequence of this is that longer development times and higher costs are incurred.

What is urgently needed is a way to consider and understand uncertainty in a methodical and quantifiable way. This research will provide a new framework and methods that prescribe how engineers can quantify and control uncertainty in the development of aircraft systems. The framework will allow engineers to make more informed decisions by identifying key parameters and their priority (in terms of their ability to impact the system design). It will allow engineers to reduce uncertainty in equipment requirements, especially for long lead time or high cost items. It will also allow engineers to focus equipment suppliers, and their modelling and simulation activities, on areas where uncertainty could most impact system performance. This would ultimately result in a shorter development cycle due to fewer changes and design loops, reduced likelihood of errors and ultimately reduced costs. Therefore, developing a framework that considers uncertainty in the development process would increase the competitiveness of UK companies within the aerospace, defence, rail and nuclear industries.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk