Hadean and Connected Places Catapult awarded innovation grant to develop e-Highways digital twin
Award winning metaverse startup Hadean, and Connected Places Catapult, the UK's innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership, have been awarded a UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant to create a new offering in the transportation sector.
The 2-year long project will aim to develop a traffic simulation digital twin that can scale to a large number of entities (cars, standard HGVs, eHGVs, charging points, electric overhead cables), replicate motorways and highways in the UK and study the optimal locations for e-Highways.
Using historical data and Hadean's cloud computing platform, the 3D environment will also help assess how e-Highways affect the flow of traffic and how infrastructure needs to be built to support them.
This will enable a greater alignment between Hadean's computing technology and the modelling capability and permit extensive and complex road networks to be modelled, stress-tested, and subjected to "what-if?" analyses. Challenges around scale of simulation, spatial computation, complexity and extent of exploration will be addressed using technologies Hadean has developed for connecting and scaling virtual worlds for metaverse, gaming, and defence.
Hadean VP of Innovation, Chris Arthurs, said: "Although e-Highways are being tested in California, Germany and the UK, domain-specific expertise of how, where and under what conditions these can be deployed is currently limited. We are excited to take our first step in the transportation industry, alongside our Knowledge Transfer Partners at the Catapult, to leverage the near-unlimited computational capacity of the cloud and develop a cutting-edge decision support tool to help consultancies and government agencies plan the highways of the future. We also believe that such capabilities will have important synergies with creating a category of metaverse worlds which may require the simulating and understanding of real-world and simulated scenario-based traffic patterns and behaviours, as well as exploring hypotheticals and "what-if?" questions around infrastructure design."
Alexander Weedon, Executive Director of SME Development and Academic Engagement at Connected Places Catapult, said:
"We are excited to be collaborating with Hadean to bring Connected Places Catapult's knowledge base to bear to support their digital twin challenge. The Catapult's unique expertise, boosted by the transfer of the Centre for Digital Twin-Hub (previously hosted by University of Cambridge) to the Catapult in April 2021, is uniquely positioned to support Hadean in creating create a new offering in the transportation sector, a wholly owned e-Highways simulation digital twin.
Alisdair Ritchie, Head of the SME Development Team at Connected Places Catapult said: "Connected Places Catapult is delighted to be working with Hadean Supercomputing on this exciting project. Real world testing is extraordinarily expensive and the opportunity to work with Hadean to develop digital twins which can model e-highways in a virtual world at a fraction of the cost is both valuable and a real learning opportunity for both organisations"
Connected Places Catapult will provide technical support and guidance to Hadean via a specialist knowledge transfer associate, who will act as a liaison between the Catapult's experts and the product team at Hadean. Specifically, the Catapult will advise on transport modelling and digital twin applications, supporting Hadean to develop mathematical and agent-based simulation models for road transportation. The Catapult team will also help Hadean overcome challenges around the acquisition and use of relevant data in the development of digital twins.
The grant demonstrates a growing interest in the public and private transportation sectors for scalable, agent-based models that can boost the development of modern, eco-friendly transportation.
The UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body launched in April 2018, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).