Jodie Walshe, Decision Support Manager for Engineering and Supply in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), gave a research seminar about the possibilities that computer modelling has to offer to many different aspects of the RNLI workings.
He explained that the RNLI is funded by donations entirely, and it is exploring ways to use computer modelling in order to improve the quality of their service, optimising the use of the donated money. During the talk he described several aspects in which they benefit from modelling.
On the manufacturing side, they build their own lifeboats and lifeboat stations, in which engineering modelling comes to help, in the form of Finite Element analysis for traditional and composite materials, among others.
They are currently exploring Virtual Reality techniques to enable, for example, remote instructions for repairs and maintenance of engines or faulty equipment. Some of their boat stations being far away from the engineers of technicians, this kind of repairing can take long time by traditional means, and Virtual Reality could speed things up.
Another aspect is coastal management, deciding on the location and distribution of lifeboats and stations. To help with this task, they have collected large amounts of data about things like repair time, historical incidents, etc. This also includes supply chain and asset management, distributing resources from their main storage warehouse.
Jodie Walshe finished by welcoming University and NGCM members to collaborate with the RNLI in any of the computational challenges they face.