Digital Twins: Testing Autonomous Vehicles in a Virtual World

Transportation as a Service (TaaS) Magazine

December 2018

The latest mobility modeling software creates a digital twin of the real world, a perfect virtual copy, where vehicle manufacturers and traffic managers can safely explore the limits of autonomous and connected vehicle technology to enable safer real-world deployment. 

Digital Twins: Testing Autonomous Vehicles in a Virtual World

Connected and autonomous vehicles are soon to become part of our lives and the role of simulation in transportation planning, design, and engineering has never been more vital. In an arena with so many unknowns, simulation is perfectly suited to testing: it provides a safe, risk-free environment that is extensible and flexible enough to cope with changing parameters and a multitude of variables but that also has the power to analyze many scenarios in a matter of minutes.

There are two main perspectives on this: vehicle manufacturers want to use simulation as a debugging environment, to run virtual tests with software and hardware in the loop, to see how their products are going to perform in the network; public administrations want to test the impact of that technology and forecast the consequent changes and investments in mobility management. Both want to test these connected vehicle developments under different road traffic conditions, where there might be different proportions of CAVs in the national fleet and when connectivity becomes less reliable. All of these are hard to test on the road at present but can be tested in simulation.

Aimsun Next software provides a set of tools for investigation into the use of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) connectivity. The new, extensible V2X Software Development Kit (V2X SDK) can help researchers design innovative new systems based around connected vehicles and allow them to test future urban traffic management systems, in-car information tools, and autonomous vehicle controls.

Read the full article for more detail and all the latest CAV projects in the UK.