My friend and colleague Rob Weisman at the Boston Globe just wrote a splendid feature headlined Warship 2.0 on the systems development behind the DDG 1000 Zumwalt guided missile destroyer. While the Navy is attempting to lower the heart-stopping $3.3 billion pricetag to build the initial versions of the technically-advanced warship, its proponents say that in today’s dollars the present Arleigh Burke class of destroyers that have been built for the past 20 years cost about $2.4 billion a copy. So, the Navy argues, taxpayers are getting a spanking new destroyer for just under $1 billion more than it cost for the last few Arleigh Burke’s going down the ways (actually, they are floated in a big moveable drydock when launched. The last destroyer to go down the ways slid lengthwise into the water more than two years ago.)
Sixty Arleigh Burkes have been built so far and the Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine, one of two U.S. yards that builds the vessel, is working on its last six Arleigh Burkes, the last of which will be launched in 2010. I have something of a vested interest in BIW given that my summer home is perched on the Kennebec River a mere quarter of a mile away. Rob also wrote a sidebar on BIW talking about the ups and downs of a yard umbilically attached to Navy contracts. BIW is trying to diversify into private shipbuilding and is going after a contract worth as much as $2.5 billion to build Fast Cutters for the Coast Guard.
Known for building high quality vessels that often come in under cost and ahead of schedule, BIW should have a good shot at the CG contract. That’s the inside word, anyway.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.