The testing of automated driving does not immediately occur on roads or rails, but primarily in simulations. This enables millions of kilometres of testing to be done without starting the vehicle. In order to ensure that the test kilometres correspond exactly to reality, it is necessary to bring the real environment into a digital representation, i.e., to create a digital twin. A single system of sensors, located on the roof of a vehicle for example, can only acquire its environment from its specific perspective. This results in blind spots and blind angles. The experts at DIGITAL have closed this gap with a combination of mobile mapping methods that are vehicle-mounted, air-supported (drone), and personally carried (rucksack).
Different measuring devices lead to the big picture
Vehicle-mounted mobile mapping systems are used for the measurement of road space with millimetre accuracy: Two laser scanners record 3.6 million measurement points per second. 7 cameras and a panorama camera can take images with 114 megapixels. The survey drone very efficiently measures the environment from the air. Thanks to its own weight of 11 kg and load capability of 7 kg, it can carry a laser scanner, an optical camera, and a thermal camera. Each flight can cover an area of 2 km2 and only needs to land to change the battery.
If digital twins need to be created of areas that are unreachable or cannot be viewed by a vehicle or a drone, then terrestrial 3D laser scanners can be used. These can provide exact measurement of a stairwell, for example, whereby the laser scanner takes overlapping images at several locations that are subsequently merged into a single overall image in the Digital Twin Lab.
In order to derive the most seamless digital representation of the environment as possible, different measurement devices are combined so that measurements can be taken from the air, ground, roads, and even in impassable terrain. Only seamless digital twins can match the strict requirements of signal propagation simulation.
Kick-off for Digital Twin Lab
Under the leadership of Patrick Luley the construction phase of a Digital Twin Lab at the Klagenfurt site began in 2023. First, 100 m2 of laboratory space and 130 m2 of office space were occupied and research equipment with a value of 1.3 million Euros was transferred from Graz to Klagenfurt. By 2027, there will be a team of 10 employees on site. The construction phase of the location is financially supported by the Carinthian state, which is a part owner of JOANNEUM RESEARCH. Grants for the investment were provided by the FFG within the scope of “R&D Infrastructure Grant”.