Work on the UrbanTwin project has begun


Lausanne/Zurich – A consortium of Swiss research institutes is creating a digital twin of the town of Aigle VD. UrbanTwin will also serve as a model for other cities’ infrastructures, enabling leaders to respond effectively to the impacts of climate change.

A Swiss research consortium has started work on UrbanTwin. This project aims to create a digital twin of Aigle. According to a report by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne(EPFL), it should, if possible, also provide decision-makers in other cities with a tool to help them achieve environmental goals and the vision of climate-adapted sponge cities. Sponge cities absorb and store rainwater locally instead of channeling and draining it. This is to prevent flooding during heavy rains.

The tool will be based on a detailed model of critical urban infrastructures such as energy, water, buildings and mobility. UrbanTwin aims to accurately simulate the evolution of these interconnected infrastructures under different climate scenarios and evaluate the effectiveness of climate change-related measures.

“We will combine state-of-the-art sensors, climate science and algorithmic calculations in one toolset – a digital twin,” Jan Kerschgens, executive director of EPFL’s Center for Intelligent Systems, is quoted as saying. A “groundbreaking example” of what artificial intelligence can do in today’s world, UrbanTwin will be “a living model that learns from its own performance and grows over time,” according to EPFL.

The project brings together research from five institutions of the ETH Domain: The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research(WSL), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research(Empa) and the ETH Domain’s Water Research Institute(EAWAG). Communication and scientific project management are ensured by four EPFL centers. mm