Transport for London (TfL) has formed a partnership with start-up Spinview to create a digital twin of the London Underground.
The partnership aims to create a digital model to improve the safety and efficiency of the underground network by monitoring tracks and tunnels and providing detailed 3D images.
The model will also be able to provide data on heat levels, noise levels, and carbon emissions.
The project will begin by modelling the Piccadilly Line, part of the Underground’s ‘deep tube’, with some tracks sitting as low as 30 metres below ground level.
The data collected by the digital twin will be available to employees across TfL to help them better manage assets and reach environmental targets.
Spinview’s Deep Rail Sensor (DRS) device will capture the geometry of the spaces, as well as detect environmental pollutants.
This will establish a true baseline for the Underground’s current carbon emissions, which should allow for more accurate measuring and tracking of the progress toward environmental goals.
The ‘deep tube’ has previously been impossible to map in full detail.
The digital twin will provide a real world replica with information that has previously been hidden, such as faults, heat hotspots, and noise sources.
It will also allow engineers to inspect issues outside of the current engineering hours of 1-5am.
Spinview’s smart grant, from the UK government, will be use to fund the partnership.
‘Forefront of technology’
TfL’s director of the Piccadilly Line upgrade project, Paul Judge, said: “This partnership with Spinview offers us a really exciting opportunity to gain real-time access to our assets on the Underground network, many of which we can currently only inspect during engineering hours.
“Not only will using digital-twin technology support the smarter, more efficient maintenance of the railway, it will also enable us to more accurately monitor environmental challenges such as carbon emissions, noise levels, and heat as we strive to do more to lessen our carbon footprint and help tackle the climate emergency.
“This is another example of us working with a wide range of market innovators to stay at the forefront of technology.”
Spinview co-founder and chief executive Linda Wade said: “We are thrilled to support TfL in its ambitions to achieve a zero-carbon railway by 2030.
“By establishing a visually intelligent ecosystem for TfL, Spinview hopes to not only help TfL in tracking its environmental goals, but also to support in facilitating better decision-making, driving forward business efficiencies, saving costs, and future-proofing the network in the long-term.”
Read next: 3D-printed foam used as ‘lighter and better insulating’ concrete alternative
Are you a building professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.