A group of Japanese entities has announced the creation of the ‘Maritime and Ocean Digital Engineering’ (MODE) cooperation programme at the University of Tokyo.

The entities include NYK Group company MTI, Japan Marine United Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Mhi) Group company Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, Furuno Electric, Japan Radio, BEMAC, ClassNK and Napa.

With a focus on research and education, the programme will establish a network between research institutes across the world and the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences and Graduate School of Engineering.

The programme will be launched on 1 October and continue for five years, up to 30 September 2027. It intends to build a simulation platform to promote and improve digital engineering technology and skills for the maritime sector.

Under the cooperation programme, the entities will use model-based development (MBD) and model-based systems engineering (MBSE) to develop and implement new technologies for global decarbonisation.

Both models are expected to help with the challenges faced by Japan’s maritime industry, such as maintaining shipping services, supporting seafarers and enhancing safety by incorporating autonomous ships and maintaining productivity amid increasing complexity in the ship design and manufacturing processes.

By studying the functions of products and components as computer models, MBD and MBSE will focus on problems and assess their behaviours through simulations.

The models will also be used by a range of stakeholders, including shippers and operators, to create a collaborative development process.

MHI stated that ‘the programme is also anticipated to expand into maritime fields such as offshore wind power generation and subsea resource development’.