A new industry-academia partnership is investigating how data and technologies like VR can be used to train the next wave of engineering Defence Force recruits.
French company Dassault Systèmes and the University of Adelaide have signed a memorandum of understanding to implement specialised industry-focused curriculum for the university’s engineering students.
The aim of the partnership is to help develop engineering talent with industry-ready skills who can work in the defence sector in South Australia and the rest of the world.
The partnership will enable the university to develop new academic programs aligned with industry requirements. For example, students will have the ability to automate and share protocols that they’re making among other groups, as well as use different simulation technologies and data analytic tools.
Engineering education is undergoing some major changes in Australia, with new technologies having an impact on what and how subjects are taught.
Sox Konno, Managing Director AP South at Dassault Systèmes, said the focus used to be on individual productivity tools, and while these tools won’t disappear, there’s been a lot more emphasis on less styled approaches.
There is also a much greater emphasis on data, not just in the CAD world, but in all the different data sets that are dealt with throughout the lifecycle of a project, he said.
“I think as a company we are trying to position ourselves and getting ready for a new era of research and development and manufacturing that has a lot more collaboration among different groups and different domain specialists,” Konno said.
“You’re not just looking at a product and features anymore, you’re really looking at a jet, or a city, or a car, or a ship, and it’s built upon systems, but it’s also interacting with the environment.”
This leads to various other questions, such as the effect on the environment and how it interacts with people.
“As a 3D experience company, when we refer to those experiences, it’s really understanding the interaction of these devices or machines or airplanes … and the interaction between that and a human and the environment,” Konno said.
“So there are a lot of things to consider when you’re making a solution – you’re not really just building a product based on specifications, but you’re really building it on user experiences.”
While this might entail a shift for students, Konno said it will be natural for them because of how the new generation uses data, interacts with it and how socially connected they are.
This has meant companies, including Dassault Systèmes, are trying to keep up with the speed of the youth and all the numerous ways they communicate with each other. But he would also like to see traditional industries adopt technology more quickly.
The ‘new’ model
Konno said it’s an exciting time for South Australia because the government and universities are not trying to shift their focus to specialise in just one new industry.
“What I’m excited about is that it’s actually innovation, digital innovation, IT technology that is going to cross industries,” he said.
“We will go from music to fashion to just anything that is purely on the innovation side.”