• Design
        • The most significant opportunities to impact the cost of building and operating a ship are found in the design and engineering phase.

          Initial Design  |  Basic Design  |  Detailed Design

        • Build
        • Even a smaller shipbuilding project is immense in scope and scale. Manage the challenges that are unique to ship construction.

          Prepare  |  Fabricate  |  Assemble

        • Maintain
        • With the majority of a ship’s life taking place after it’s been built, it’s crucial to ensure that the organization has a clear picture of the vessel at all times.

          Digital Twin  |  Repair / Refit  |  Operations

        • Nexus
        • SSI Nexus is the place where users, creators, & implementers of SSI software get together. Here they discuss best practices & industry trends, tackle common challenges, gain access to the latest software, and provide input into the future of the products that bring them together.

        • MyLearning
        • SSI MyLearning is where SSI users can access detailed training exercises, materials, courses, and certifications. The self-directed training curriculum ensures that training happens on your schedule and when you need it most.

        • SSI Blogs
        • The SSI blog is your place to get insights into the intersection of shipbuilding and technology, how our industry is moving forward, and keep up with SSI news. It’s the only place to read the latest from Denis Morais and Darren Larkins, SSI’s co-CEOs.

          Lighthouse Waveform  |  Crow’s Nest

        • ShipConstructor
        • Engineering information is a shipbuilder’s most important asset. Getting that information to fit your business means using a solution that is built to handle shipbuilding’s unique challenges and information requirements throughout each stage of a vessel’s lifecycle.

        • EnterprisePlatform
        • Every process in a shipyard requires data. Seamlessly sharing that data across tools in the correct format needed allows for meaningful, actionable information to be consumed throughout the organization. Providing the freedom to choose the tailored tools required for a shipbuilding project.

        • ShipbuildingPLM
        • ShipbuildingPLM is the only product lifecycle management (PLM) platform that is specifically built for the business of shipbuilding. It allows your shipyard to manage and organize information, understand change, build a foundation for digital innovation, and support MRO activities – without the risks and costs of traditional PLM implementations.

        • Company
        • Learn more about SSI and our leadership.

        • Locations & Contact
        • You need a partner with a global presence.

        • News
        • The latest on SSI and shipbuilding.

        • Events
        • Join us at our next event, conference, or trade show.

        • Partners
        • Learn more about our Platform and Development Partners.

        • Clients
        • See the industry leaders who trust SSI.

        • Careers
        • Help us make the business of shipbuilding possible.

March 12, 2015
CAD/CAM Technology

Autodesk Maritime

A week and a half ago I was invited to attend a forum on the future of ocean and maritime technology. The forum, hosted by Autodesk, took place at Pier 9 in San Francisco as part of a new R&D effort at Autodesk focused on maritime.

Going in I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The background and experience of those involved was as diverse as possible (intentionally so) in a group that still shared some common interest. By way of example here are just a few of those involved:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
  • OpenROV
  • Erika Bergman – a 2013 National Geographic Young Explorer and a submarine pilot.
  • Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding
  • Bluefin Robotics
  • Bob Hollis – an inductee to the International SCUBA diving hall of fame and founder of Oceanic
  • The BentProp Project
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

One of the common technologies or themes that cropped up in a variety ways was reality capture. Some truly practical and inspiring uses of photogrammetry and other technologies were in evidence. The two most impressive examples – the BentProp project and the Antikythera Shipwreck – bridge the gap between old and truly ancient artifacts and modern technology.

Of course, little of the above translates directly to the shipbuilding and offshore construction industries, does it? Well, our CTO recently covered some of the ways current SSI and Autodesk technology in the area of reality capture could be leveraged during the design and construction of ships and offshore structures. Another example, found at the convergence point of these various technologies, are the AUV’s that Bluefin Robotics has delivered to the US Navy to automate the often human labor intensive task (even with the increased use of ROV’s) of hull inspection.

However, the application of these technologies was not at all the point of the forum. The idea was to mix equal parts of many different industries, viewpoints and experience, and shake well. The cocktail that ends up in the glass should be something that wouldn’t normally come together on its own.

How well did it work?

Overall I found it to be an interesting experience; one that is about finding new questions rather than finding answers. However despite the diversity of the participants I believe that a few areas were underrepresented. Their inclusion perhaps could have furthered the goals of the forum (added more ingredients to the cocktail shaker). In one of my breakout groups another attendee (apologies as I don’t remember who it was) said something to the effect of: “organizations fall into one of two groups: those that see the ocean as an opportunity (explorers, researchers etc…) and those that see the ocean as a barrier (shipping, fisheries, oil & gas)”. The viewpoint of those industries that work in, or on, the ocean environment would add to the conversation around technology, and early engagement is perhaps the best way to foster continual engagement. To be fair this wasn’t due to any lack of foresight on Autodesk’s part; Individuals from the US Navy, US Coast Guard, NOAA and Shell were also invited but were last minute cancellations due to both natural (weather) and political climate.

What did we learn?

I think the primary takeaways for me, and neither of these were really a surprise were:

  1. Everyone has the same challenges. Three of the primary obstacles or challenges that came out of our workshops were:
    1. Data collection, analysis, visualization and dissemination
    2. Collaboration between individuals, teams and organizations
    3. Public perception/awareness
  2. Technology, or lack thereof, is not a major contributing factor in the formation of these obstacles. Technology may be able to help, and even facilitate change, but it will not do so absent the desire, willingness and engagement of the people and organizations involved.


In summary, this is sort of think session is an excellent opportunity to step outside your normal persona and engage with a group of bright, talented people. I’m still chewing on several discussions to see what, if anything, can be applied to what we do, but you never know from where inspiration will strike.

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