Research led by ORUA and its community aims to make it easier to bring the benefits of digital twins to Aotearoa New Zealand’s key sectors including Healthcare, Energy, Construction, Infrastructure and Society

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ORUA, the Smart Digital Lab, the Geothermal Modelling Group, the Public Policy Institute, SimCon and others from ORUA’s wider community have pioneered the use of digital twins in healthcare, renewable energy, construction and social policy. This partnership of researchers are creating an initiative that focuses on extending this innovative research to create a streamlined digital twin pipeline and develop a suite of digital twins for all of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Digital twins are the convergence of real-world data and sophisticated modelling to create virtual copies of real-world systems in the digital space. Decision makers and analysts can use digital twins to better understand real-world systems and the effect of decisions within these systems.

Examples include:

  • stochastic compartmental models can combine with real-world case data to provide a digital twin of epidemic spread that provides decision makers with an environment to rapidly experiment with different public health policies in order to assess their worth before implementing them in real life.
  • building information modelling (BIM) and simulation can combine with real-world data provided via the Internet of Things (IOT) to provide a digital twin of construction projects to support project and site managers to improve their pre-build planning and the build management.
  • integrating 3D scans and product data into a digital twin of a manufacturing plant or process to enable innovation in, e.g., the plant layout, to be explored in the digital twin before being implemented in practice – see this case study with Steel & Tube.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Digital Twin Initiative will consolidate, standardise, extend and connect digital twin models, methods and algorithms to make it easier for industry, government and communities to develop, deploy and utilise digital twins. Strategic digital twins for the 3 waters, energy, transport, infrastructure, the environment and society will be developed and integrated to provide a national digital twin of Aotearoa New Zealand, an evolution beyond digital twin programmes that focus only on infrastructure, e.g., the National Digital Twin Programme from the UK. Smaller, tactical and operational digital twins will also be refined and developed for both direct use by decision makers and analysts and to contribute to the national digital twin either directly (as a sub-component of the overall national model) or implicitly (by informing the characteristics of a sub-component).

ORUA is actively seeking potential partners from the research, industry, policy and community spaces who would like to joint the Aotearoa New Zealand Digital Twin Initiative and use data, modelling and expertise to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.