Indra is carrying out a new research, development and innovation (RDI) project, known as Soprene, to study the use of neural networks to enhance the capabilities of the Spanish Navy.

Under the two-year RDI project, the company will conduct research into the application of artificial intelligence techniques for the maintenance of Spanish Navy ships.

The scope of the research will also include enhancing the maximum availability and optimal state of the fleet and its capabilities.

The research project was awarded by the Ministry of Defense through the Armament and Materiel General Directorate (DGAM).

It is seen as a significant step towards introducing the Industry 4.0 concept in the armed forces.

According to Indra, the outcome of the research will form a key part of the Future Integrated Navy Maintenance System 4.0, which is regarded as a solution to supervise the maintenance of an increasingly digitalised and technologically advanced fleet.

The company will evaluate the advantages of applying these techniques to the data gathered from ships while at sea.

"The company will evaluate the advantages of applying these techniques to the data gathered from ships while at sea."

Techniques being studied by the company are expected to imitate the ability and strategies adopted by human brains for reasoning and decision-making.

Combined with computing power provided by advanced computers, neural networks will help detect patterns unnoticed by human beings, Indra noted.

The implementation of the technology enhances the effectiveness of fleet maintenance by avoiding unforeseen breakdowns, increasing their availability and saving costs.

Furthermore, the technology will support automatic ship diagnoses, thereby reducing the dependence on humans for classifying and detecting anomalies.

Custom dashboards or control panels will be available to allow operators to monitor the entire process.

The system is capable of sending alerts for engineers and technicians to intervene and to predict potential failures, lack of maintenance or the need to renew components.

In a statement, Indra said: “This technology will avoid failures that could jeopardise a mission or the safety of the crew. The workload of the team responsible for these tasks will be reduced and the Spanish Navy will gain in terms of days at sea of greater quality.”