Digitalisation of Aviation

Virtual Product House - Integration and Test Centre for Virtual Certification

Virtualisation of an aircraft
Digitalisation and virtualisation in aviation
Image 1/3, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Digitalisation and virtualisation in aviation

The new DLR Institute of Software Methods for Product Virtualisation in Dresden will pool the skills required to undertake the first complete virtual aircraft flight in the long term.

The digital twin
The digital twin
Image 2/3, Image: DLR

The digital twin

Linking the real product with its digital image.

The digital thread
The digital thread
Image 3/3, Image: DLR

The digital thread

The digitalisation of an aircraft throughout its lifecycle.

With the Virtual Product House (VPH) in Bremen, DLR is pursuing the goal of closely cooperating with industry partners, the scientific community and public authorities to implement an integration and test centre for the virtual simulation and certification of components and technologies, as well as their integration into the overall aircraft. The VPH is funded through a start-up project by the State of Bremen and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Embedding of the Virtual Product House into DLR's Strategy for the 'Digitalisation of Aviation'

Together with four recently founded institutes, the VPH is an integral part of the DLR aeronautics research strategy for the ‘digitalisation of aviation’.

It is intended to serve as a dynamic and flexible network platform, where various DLR institutes work together with partners to pursue the ambitious goals of virtual design, testing and certification. The DLR virtual certification strategy aims to reduce the duration and cost of certification tests by using complementary virtual (that is, simulation-based) flight and ground tests, leading up to a complete virtual certification process as a long-term goal. This long-term vision is part of the virtual product as one of the guiding concepts of the DLR aeronautics programme. It intends to virtually represent the aircraft with all its characteristics over the entire lifecycle. Therefore, a multiphysics, multiscale and multifidelity approach is required to closely link design and flight physics capabilities with virtual testing, production and operations.

Field of research

  • Virtual (aircraft/wing/movables) design
  • Virtual (systems and structural) testing and certification
  • Virtual production and manufacturing
  • Software engineering and integration

VPH Partner Landscape

The Virtual Product House as an integration platform is based on interdisciplinary engineering and software teams and a flexible partner network. As such, several DLR institutes with expertise in various disciplines (for example, aerodynamics, structures, systems, software and simulation) work together at the VPH in Bremen in a collaborative way. The activities of the VPH are also closely linked to the research topics of the newly founded DLR institutes and are embedded into DLR’s strategy for the 'digitalisation of aeronautics'.

A key objective and strength of the VPH is its close cooperation with the aviation industry. The following industry partners are participating in the VPH start-up project:

  • Airbus Operations
  • Liebherr Aerospace
  • IABG
  • FFT Produktionssysteme

The VPH also cooperates with universities (for example, the University of Bremen), certification authorities (for example, EASA) and the software industry (for example, SAP) to address the ambitious goals for virtual certification.

  • Dr.-Ing. Kristof Risse
    Programme Directorate Aviation
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Programme Directorate Aviation
    Telephone: +49 531 295-2491
    Center for Eco-efficient Materials and Technologies
    Cornelius-Edzard-Straße  15
    28199  Bremen

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