How Digital Twin Is Revolutionising The Transport Sector

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Digital Twin for Smarter Transportation

When we think of an intelligent system or network, what comes to mind is one that is entirely self-aware, one that can identify and locate areas in itself that need to be fixed or worked upon. Such systems are even more important in a more complex and unpredictable landscape, with added pressure to extend the life cycle of critical infrastructure. Thanks to recent progress in digital twin technology, the dream of smart infrastructure is rapidly turning into a reality with applications that can revolutionise transportation from railways to air travel and so much more in between. 

Digital Twin for the Railway Industry

Trains are being installed with IoT cameras and sensors to gather data as the train is travelling along the tracks. This data is uploaded to a private server instantaneously to create a real-time digital twin of the railway, informing the people responsible for its operation whether or not there are problems such as loose ballast on the tracks or if any damage has been caused that might lead to issues if left unattended. These sensors overcome the requirement to send maintenance teams around the entire railway wasting their time looking for things that might be wrong. This will save time and money for the companies, ultimately reducing any downtime as all issues are pinpointed immediately. This technology can also be used to monitor the fatigue of train drivers and look out for pedestrians crossing over the tracks which wildly improves safety around the railway.

Digital Twin for Road Travel

One of the biggest problems we face when we decide to drive from place to place isn’t, in fact, the act of driving; it’s the traffic we have to wait in, it’s the roadworks we have to take detours to avoid, and with the vehicle-to-person ratio ever increasing, the need for a solution is growing. Digital twins allow us to model traffic and pedestrian flow as well as many other factors in order to work towards an ITS (intelligent transportation system). We can use our digital twin of a given city to observe areas in which improvements need to be made to the traffic lights, to its public transport links, to the traffic management, and to show which areas require more funding allocated than others. By installing IoT cameras and sensors to the traffic lights, public transport vehicles, and street lights we can build up a smart city where all information collated is immediately uploaded to a private server. This would mean that any issues such as potholes, bridges or damaged buildings would be instantly reported so that maintenance teams can be sent out to deal with them right away, defeating the need for a halt on day-to-day life and generally making the city a safer place to live.

Digital Twin for Air Travel

One of the greatest applications of digital twin is its use as a decision support tool in many different scenarios, one of which is air traffic control. We can all agree that there is nothing more irritating than getting to the airport nice and early and waiting an hour and a half just to find out that your plane has been delayed. Thanks to the work being done in the field of digital twin, this may be an annoyance of the past. Companies such as Deloitte and McLaren have teamed up with Air Australia to map out a digital twin of the entire airspace in which their planes travel, allowing them to simulate the flight paths and timings of each voyage and plan the best way to organise everything so no one is left stranded in the airport. The planes are all connected to IoT and are constantly gathering data around the airspace as well as informing ground control when the planes need servicing or refuelling, which extends the overall longevity of the planes and ultimately saves more money.

Digital twin for Marine Transport and Shipping

The usage of digital twin in the maritime sector of industry was largely inspired by an idea born in NASA. The idea of the digital twin ship births a plethora of possibilities in areas such as hazard identification, safety improvement, fleet management, and upgrading the process of the end-to-end supply chain. A digital twin of how a fleet of cargo ships operates in conjunction with the supply chain gives a deep analysis and real understanding of trade patterns, as well as using real-time data from weather reports to allow control of a fleet’s activity taking into account the safety of travel. Smart containers, utilising IoT technology, are making their way from one end of the supply chain to the other, passing through different ports and different carriers, all the while collating data. By pooling all of the data collectively gathered by these containers all around the world, a digital twin is created that paints a picture of exactly how the international maritime supply chain looks and operates at any given moment, allowing companies to select the perfect route that would ensure the consumer receives their order without any delay. The potential for digital twin to thrive in this sector is paramount with several large companies making enormous investments.

In each of these digital twin use cases, one vital necessity is common, the requirement for high performance distributed computing that enables simulations with high fidelity and low latency. Have a look at Hadean’s products, Aether Engine and Muxer that are being used to create digital twins with unparalleled scalability and connectivity – enabling intelligent systems for superior decision making.

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