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Digital Twins in Aviation

A digital twin combines real-time and static data within an aerodrome, serving as a platform for decision making by air traffic controllers and other stakeholders.

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Aerodromes are large and complex systems involving many sources of data, many stakeholders with differing requirements, and a constant need for seamless coordination and safety. In order to meet these requirements, modelling and fusion of the various data sources is needed. These elements should then come together in a digital twin of the aerodrome which offers analysis and visualisation of the data. 

The research towards digital twins in aviation has been performed by the Geometry Group at SINTEF Digital’s Department of Mathematics & Cybernetics. The Geometry Group focuses on development of algorithms and workflows for creating shape descriptions for efficient modelling, simulation, analysis and visualisation. We also have expertise in machine learning for various applications related to spatiotemporal data, such as object detection and tracking.

Through a series of projects related to the activities in Remote and Digital Tower, SINTEF has gained extensive experience in building the components of a digital twin solution. Such projects include SESAR PJ12.04.09 (led by SINTEF) which established the baseline 3D model of the terrain and buildings surrounding an aerodrome, SESAR PJ 05-W1 which integrated machine learning-based tracking technology into the system, and SESAR PJ 05-W2 which consolidated the previous research and added functionality for visualising predicted future conditions such as weather and lighting. SINTEF has also drawn on research into geospatial modelling techniques performed in other national and international projects such as ANALYST and the EU FP7 project IQmulus (FP7-ICT-2011-318787), also led by SINTEF.

Read more about the specific developments made in the latest SESAR project: Digital Technologies for Tower (PJ 05-W2).