Brian Robins,VP, Product and Industry Marketing at Bentley Systems, Inc. discusses digital twins and their advancement beyond BIM
Over the next 12 to 18 months, digital twins will take center stage, advancing rapidly beyond building information modeling (BIM), enabling asset-centric organizations to converge their engineering technologies, operational technologies, and information technologies into a portal or augmented/immersive experiences. This has become possible due to the confluence of 3D visualization, reality modeling, mixed reality (AR/VR), and geotechnical engineering, providing an immersive and integrated view of infrastructure assets below ground, on the surface, and above ground. The result will be better informed decisions to improve network/service availability, enhance passenger and worker safety, ensure regulatory compliance, and reduce environmental impact.
Digital twins will span the entire asset lifecycle. For CapEx projects, project digital twins will provide a risk-free way of simulating construction, logistics, and fabrication sequences with the supply chain, as well as optimizing design for passenger flows and enabling stakeholders to visualize emergency evacuations and resilience against flooding and/or extreme weather conditions. For OpEx, performance digital twins will truly become the organization’s 3D/4D operating system, combining data from continuous surveys, photogrammetry, LiDAR and sensors, and tracking changes to assets on a timeline, enabling those responsible for asset management to roll the digital representation of the infrastructure asset and related real-world conditions forward or backward in time.
With the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), we envisage immersive digital operations, providing analytics visibility and insights to enhance the effectiveness of operations staff and help them anticipate and head off issues before they arise and react more quickly with confidence. With the application of drones, robots, and AI-based computer vision, we envisage the automation of inspection tasks via a living digital twin, enabling experts to conduct inspections remotely, vastly increasing productivity and leveraging the knowledge of scarce resources.