In the construction industry a digital twin refers to a virtual representation of a physical building or structure.
Technically, a digital twin is a virtual representation of a living or non-living physical entity. However, it’s the non-living physical entity we’re the focus is on and, more specifically, structures.
By building a digital twin of a building, or transportation infrastructure, we can run simulations to improve the design and work out any problems before we build. We can even simulate worst-case scenarios on the digital twin.
During the construction process, sensors applied at the building site monitor changes and allow us to compare what is happening on the ground and make sure everything matches the plans and drawings. The digital twin created gives us the ability to correct any deviations immediately. We can even move backward through time and pinpoint the precise action that caused the deviation.
When you add a virtual reality component to the digital twin, our engineers, workers, and even our clients can move throughout the structure and identify areas for improvement. For example, maintenance workers might find areas where adequate clearance has not been provided, making the repair of equipment an arduous task. The problem can be corrected before the project gets underway, eliminating the need for expensive changes during the construction phase.
In Australia, we are using drones equipped with advanced data collection technology to collect geospatial data and produce high-resolution 2D and 3D images. With this information, we can create a digital twin to aid in asset management, undertake inspections, and make informed design and planning activities. Our people can then see and interact with these digital twins to perform high-risk tasks virtually. And, at the very least, reduce the frequency and duration of those tasks in the real, high-risk environment.
Innovation, as demonstrated by our use of digital twins, is one of our defining values. While much of our innovation comes out of our Digital Hub, we extend the culture of innovation to all our employees. This way, innovation permeates throughout our organization and stimulates transformation in all of our business lines.