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Imec and TNO launch Digital Twin of the city of Antwerp

Digital 3D replica of the city and urban liveability • 27 Sep 2018

This week, at SuperNova in Antwerp, imec, the world's leading research and innovation hub in the field of nanoelectronics and digital technology, and the Dutch innovation organisation TNO are launching a 'digital twin' of the city of Antwerp. This digital 3D replica of the city combines noise pollution data with real-time sensor information from air quality and traffic, and computer models. It offers an up-to-date and predictive view of the situation in the city whereby the impact of planned measures can be simulated and tested.

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Cities face major and complex challenges to reduce CO2 emissions, noise and traffic pollution in the city centre and to keep the city attractive, liveable and healthy. Interventions to improve a situation in a particular neighbourhood can have an impact on multiple factors and/or multiple locations in a city. For example, making a particular street car-free can have a positive impact on the air quality and noise pollution of adjacent neighbourhoods, but could also cause mobility and air quality in other places to deteriorate.

The digital twin presented this week by imec and TNO is a highly realistic virtual representation of the city of Antwerp. It bridges the digital and physical worlds and supports policymakers and area developers in making complex decisions about urban quality of life. With the 'push of a button' the effects of certain scenarios on traffic, noise and air quality can be predicted in advance. The availability of more and up-to-date data from various sensors in the city makes future forecasts even more accurate and enables planners to make the best decisions for short-term measures. The digital twin was created on the basis of the simulation platform 'Urban Strategy' of the Dutch research institute TNO, on which imec builds a new interactive interface and provides sensor data to enable the real-time linking and enrichment of the models. Partners in the project are Dept MOW of the Flemish Government, TomTom and PTV.

“The possibilities of this tool are endless,” says Jan Adriaenssens, Programme Director City of Things imec. “In principle, in the digital twin we can process all data that policymakers find important - from bicycle data to information about the sewerage system. Indeed, the city council has a digital control room at its disposal to plan measures to improve the quality of life and mobility of their city,”

Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation , explains. “As cities grow and become more connected, city councils must look for innovative tools to meet the challenges posed by this evolution. The real-time data of the digital twin are indispensable for this. For Flemish cities, it is a step towards becoming true Smart Cities.”

“Antwerp is the ideal pilot city for the digital twin. It is a metropolis, a port city, with a mix of industry, buildings and retail and is home to innovative start-ups. A diverse mix of players who can work with the different facets of the digital twin. It is not for nothing that it is home to the City of Things project,” says Bart De Wever, Mayor of Antwerp.

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