Apparently, during the epidemic, I spent so much time on digital content, I stopped reading print magazines. Last weekend I tried reading my popular mechanics magazines – from 2021 – and one article blew my mind a bit. The story, “How the Air Force Secretly Designs and Flies a New Fighter in One Year” (here’s another excerpt from DefenseNews), describes how simulation helped designers move from the concept to the effective, finished product once pregnant in a fraction of the time. , Modeling, construction, testing, re-testing and then risking death because the pilots worked out bugs outside the design.
In the simulation, you can safely crash the jet an unlimited number of times without losing a life and deliver a product that, even in its initial prototype form, is much safer to fly than many production aircraft. It was with technology that is now in a two-year-old segment that we now loosely call metavers – and it is advancing incredibly fast. This suggests that the time required for design and construction of almost any product is being greatly reduced.
Let’s talk about how simulation speeds up innovation.
The platform I am most familiar with for simulation is Nvidia Omniverse (Nvidia is a client). Nvidia shared the development of this platform at its last event, and it has been so successful that every major car company is using it to create autonomous cars. While not every car company is using Nvidia’s entire hardware stack, I hope some will regret not doing so. Saving a few bucks in an important security system tends to end badly. If this results in the loss of a person’s life, it means that the firm is worth a few dollars of savings for one’s life. I (Fa jury bought this argument, there is a tendency to set records of related judgments and decisions.)
Before the advent of Omniverse, we were basically talking about autonomous vehicles by 2030. But several car companies, including Jaguar and GM, have now indicated that they will have commercial Level 4 systems on the market between 2025-26.
This is a big improvement in the timeline. When you consider that Level 5 autonomous vehicles are likely to be limited by regulatory approvals, not technology, it could have a greater impact on autonomous vehicle time-to-market than we expected.
Why the market is important from time to time
When I first went to Competitive Analysis, I studied the Ford / GM response to Japanese cars in the 1960s: Pinto and Vega (from Ford and GM, respectively). Both were very competitive with Japanese making in the late 1960s but were not at all competitive when they appeared in the early 1970s.
What happened? GM and Ford bought Japanese cars, analyzed them completely and made Pinto and Vega from that analysis. The whole process takes about five years. But, at the time, Japanese cars were advancing, so by the time Vega and Pinto showed up, they were already five years old.
If you reduce the typical five-year development period for a car to one (it’s difficult to speed up because of the need for regulatory testing), car companies can respond more quickly to a competitive threat – and the overall car market will grow much faster year by year.
As “popular science” mentions, when it comes to weapons, simulations can offer a huge advantage. Often, the weapons used at the end of the war have advanced greatly since the war began – often these rapidly evolving platforms should be tested at the cost of the lives lost by them.
With the help of simulations, an army can have next-generation weapons based on what has been learned on the battlefield in less than a year, weapons that have been better tested than weapons systems built in more traditional R&D efforts. They are probably much cheaper, too (because you can optimize them under simulation). And these can be custom designed for the unique needs of the current conflict.
The country that can do this will have a great advantage on the battlefield.
Simulation and complexity
Simulation allows for relatively safe growth in market time for new products, be it weapons or auto. As you might expect, the military is already demonstrating its capabilities by building a mature, next-generation fighter within a year. In times of war, this can be done quickly, allowing a company to adapt its main and small arms systems to the unique needs of the ongoing conflict in a matter of months.
For vehicles and other complex products, simulation technology will allow companies to respond more aggressively to competitive threats and mitigate them more aggressively. If you already think things are changing fast, hold on to your hat, because change, thanks to the progress of simulation, is about to arrive faster.
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