Metaverse startup Hadean and Connected Places Catapult, an innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership, have received a grant from the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which will enable the pair to develop a new solution for the transportation sector.
Over a period of two years, the duo aims to develop a traffic simulation digital twin capable of scaling to a high number of entities including cars, standard HGVs, eHGVs, charging points and electric overhead cables. Motorways and highways within the UK will also be simulated to evaluate the best location for e-highways to be built.
With historical data and Hadean’s cloud computing platform, the 3D simulated environment will help the partnership to investigate how e-highways affect traffic flow and also what infrastructure needs to be constructed to support smart roadways. Hadean’s computing technology and modeling expertise will allow complex road networks to be modeled, simulated and stress tested. The simulated roadways can also be subjected to what-if analysis.
Simulation, spatial computation, complexity and extent of exploration challenges will be addressed by using Hadean technology which was developed for connecting and scaling virtual worlds for other industries.
“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,” explained Chris Arthurs, vice president of innovation, Hadean. “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 behaviors, as well as exploring hypotheticals and ‘what-if?’ questions around infrastructure design.”
“We are excited to be collaborating with Hadean to bring Connected Places Catapult’s knowledge base to bear to support their digital twin challenge,” commented Alexander Weedon, executive director of SME development and academic engagement at Connected Places Catapult. “The Catapult’s unique expertise, boosted by the transfer of the Centre for Digital Twin Hub (previously hosted by the University of Cambridge) to the Catapult in April 2021, is uniquely positioned to support Hadean in creating a new offering in the transportation sector, a wholly owned e-highways simulation digital twin.”
“Connected Places Catapult is delighted to be working with Hadean Supercomputing on this exciting project,” said Alisdair Ritchie, head of the SME development team at Connected Places Catapult. “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 organizations.”
During the project, Connected Places Catapult will provide technical support and guidance to Hadean via a specialist knowledge transfer associate, who will act as a liaison between Catapult and Hadean. Catapult will advise on transport modeling and digital twin applications to support Hadean in developing mathematical and agent-based simulation models for road transportation.