Digital Twin Hackathon
Following the 2022 #cocreateMYCITY digital twin masterclass, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa saw an opportunity to host a hackathon around the use of digital twin as a tool to inform policy and solve local socio-economic challenges. The hackathon is carried out together with Wits University’s renowned digital incubator, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct.
With the hackathon, we aimed to stretch the minds of South African and Dutch university students from different academic disciplines to solve relevant city problems. Participants were able to experiment with emerging technologies and improve their problem-solving abilities. The outcomes of the hackathon will potentially benefit the City of Johannesburg and improve citizens’ lives.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is a virtual mirror of a real-world asset, process or even an entire system, like a supply chain or city.
According to Royal Haskoning DHV the ongoing digitalisation of physical environments, organisations, institutions and societies will gradually build ecosystems of digital twin representing their assets, processes and systems. These ecosystems will help improve efficiency, lower costs, and allow us to develop more informed solutions to today’s big societal and environmental challenges.
Benefits of using digital twin
The benefit of using digital twin has been seen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands since November 2021. Following the success of the biennial #cocreateMYCITY in Johannesburg, the concept of digital twin was discussed with great enthusiasm, particularly within the context of its use as an economic development and policy tool. The Digital Twin Hackathon is an extension of this and a unique opportunity to address challenges in South Africa.
Through this collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and working with youth, we aim to innovate with South Africans, for South Africans, while leaning on the learnings that have been put to use in the Netherlands. As the project develops, we hope that it will hold great potential for scalability and positively impacting the digital and development challenges that South Africa is determined to overcome.
Challenge 1: Transport Related
Traffic problems can be due to recurring and non-recurring factors. Recurring problems occurs regularly, mostly due to the excessive number of vehicles during peak hours and the currently ongoing electricity load shedding. On the other hand, unpredictable events such as weather, work zones, incidents, and special events are the causes of non-recurring problems. The accurate prediction of vehicular traffic flow is significant in aiding motorists in their decision-making process regarding the shortest possible route to their destination. The art of knowing “when and where” traffic congestion is going to occur is significant in addressing road transportation problems, as this will make it easier for transportation engineers and urban planners to allocate transportation resources to freeways or road intersections that are prone to traffic congestions. The application of artificially intelligent predictive models in the prediction of the performance of traffic flow has yielded positive results.
Using the digital twin technology, how can we estimate the increase in pollution as a result of spending more time in traffic?
How can the digital twin technology be used to determine:
- Traffic signals affected for the measurement period.
- Resultant congestion on the motorways as well as arterials.
- What is the calculated Increase in travel time compared to a non-load shed period?
- Impact on freight movement.
- Total loss of effective time in production or trade hours.
- The resultant cost to the Johannesburg Economy.
How can emergency vehicles get to their destination faster during traffic congestion?
Challenge 2: Built Environment
Challenge 3: URBAN MOBILITY
Challenge 4: CLIMATE-RESILIENCE
Increasing urbanization will likely increase the risk of climate change effects. Various nature-based solutions could help cities to mitigate those effects. Digital twins enable the integration of data related to climate resilience and help policy makers in their decision-making processes. Integrating urban data might enable identifying weak spots in the city, testing the effectiveness of various interventions and help in real-time management of urban systems.
How can a digital twin be used to integrate various data sources on an urban scale to increase a city’s climate resilience and make it a more pleasant place to live?
Challenge 5: COMMUNICATION
The digital age opens up opportunities for new ways of communicating between people and government agencies. The public must be allowed to file location-based complaints. Combining digitally reported complaints with other city information into a digital twin will enable local governments to better analyse and respond to problems.
How can a digital twin be used to create a platform in which citizens can report issues to their municipality and be combined with other urban information to enhance city management?
Challenge 6: ASSET MANAGEMENT
Various research projects integrate various sources of information related to the plant to improve plant monitoring, improve long-term maintenance and enable real-time, data-driven decision-making during the plant’s operational phase.
How can a digital twin be used to integrate different data from various lifecycle stages of assets to improve the decision-making processes of asset managers during various phases in the asset’s life cycle?
1st Place winning team:
The 3 Trashketeers
The South African students on the team were offered the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands. The whole team got the opportunity to go on a digital twins themed excursion. The Dutch students on the team received the opportunity to interview for an internship at TNO.
PLUS R40.000 worth of educational support material for the whole team
2nd Place winning team:
The South African and Dutch students on the team won R35.000 worth of educational support material for the whole team.
3rd Place winning team:
The South African and Dutch students on the team won R25.000 worth of educational support material for the whole team.
Digital Twin Webinar
A webinar to unpack the value of Digital Twin and the potential it holds to solve challenges in South African cities, was hosted on October 31st. The round table discussion was moderated by Dr Calayde Davey, Lecturer, Coordinator: Professional Practice, Urban Strategy & Hatfield Digital Twin City Initiative.
Director: Albonico Sack Metacity specialising in Urban design and Regional Planning
Strategic Business Development Manager: Royal HaskoningDHV
Cluster Manager Societal Impact for Accessibility and Liveability: TNO
DR MILA KOEVA
Associate Professor: University Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information, Science and Earth Observation ITC
Director for Urban Policy Development and Management:
National Department of Cooperative Governance