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A Digital Twin for Roads

What is a Digital Twin?

Digital twins, a term coined in 2002 by Dr. Michael Grieves, are dynamic virtual reality representations of real things. Unlike a simulation, which is a separate entity, digital twins are much more closely related to what they were made to represent in the real world. They can be used to analyze and predict future conditions. Data collected from a twin is directly applicable to the thing that it’s twinning, and that data can be used for the full lifecycle of the physical thing. 

What makes a digital twin different from a simulation is that it is updated in real time. A simulation is similar but distinct, nowhere near as accurate as a digital twin. Using a digital twin, future conditions can be analyzed and predicted based on the available data.

The Scale of the Matter

The larger the original, the more complicated it is to create a digital twin. Twinning an automobile is a large project, having to take every piece into consideration. So, what happens when you try to create a twin of something that spans the entire globe? The complication increases. 

Keeping up to date with something so large can feel impossible, even with ubiquitious technologies such as satellite imagery. While likely good enough for simulation, the smallest mismatched details  will throw the twin off. Updating such a large model in real-time might sound impossible. 

Roads cross the globe, as undeniably important to society as veins are to a body. They are an important asset to individuals, companies and governments, and now even technology. As autonomous vehicles grow in capability, it becomes ever more important to be able to share a digital twin of the road with the vehicles navigating them.

The Importance of Lane Lines

Lane lines guide every vehicle, and when they change, HD maps become out-of-date. When the map is out of date, autonomous vehicles no longer have that guidance. Maps can remain out of date indefinitely, and even once updated, they can be rendered out-of-date yet again within a matter of days. 

Maintaining a digital twin of the lane lines could feed directly into HD maps for autonomous vehicles. As a true digital twin, it would be updated in real-time, never falling out of date. This HD map would be a living thing, constantly keeping track of the way the real world changes and remaining true. Even work zones would be accounted for in this digital twin, enabling safe autonomous navigation through them. 

The Virtual Markings Exchange, from V-Markings, offers exactly that future. A truly up-to-date HD map of the world’s lane lines, virtual markings to guide the vehicle’s path. V-Markings is working towards that future with our 5 Levels vision.

Q3 2022 5-Levels Infographic - Slide Size - 09-23-2022
Digital twin of the road as part of the 5 Levels of V-Markings

V-Markings: building digital twins of the world’s roads.

Using our proprietary, patent-pending technology, we are tracking changes as they happen. We are uniquely positioned to build the digital twin of the world’s roads. With this, HD maps will be instantly updated with the latest changes in lane lines and other essential information.