What’s wrong with your engine?

The development of an intelligent aircraft maintenance system to diagnose engine problems automatically is underway at the University of York’s computer science department.

Its objective is to create what it calls a ‘generic distributed diagnostics grid test-bed’. The technology will be applied to the maintenance of an aero-gas turbine demonstrator.

It is termed a ‘grid test bed’ because the intelligent system will operate across a vast internet-based network being constructed by the Leeds, Sheffield and York universities at a cost of £2.8m.

While monitoring the aero engine for faults, the computer system will search the available databases in a process known as distributed data mining. Sensor data and information trawled will be analysed through diagnostic software developed at Oxford University to come up with a solution for any faults detected in the engine.

Professor Jim Austin, at York University, is leading the project in co-operation with Rolls-Royce and its partner Data Systems and Solutions.