A digital solution that enhances the customer experience while helping car manufacturers further improve their products? That’s exactly what digital twins do. In the automotive industry, digital twins are digital representations of specific vehicles or their components. These virtual representations offer various possible applications and added values throughout a car model’s entire life cycle – from the design phase to the usage phase.
The new opportunities not only apply to the automotive sector – the entire production industry benefits from them. In their digital twin forecast, market researchers from MarketsandMarkets predict an annual growth of almost 38 percent and a volume exceeding 15 billion US dollars by 2023.
Digital twins can be multiplied and changed as needed. That makes it possible to quickly examine the impact of changes made to individual components. Crash tests can be repeated as often as necessary. Furthermore, sensors can report specific cars‘ experiences back to their digital twins during their usage phases. The virtual representation „lives“ and evolves like the real product: This enables specific and detailed analyses that warn drivers in advance, recommend maintenance intervals, etc. – before vehicles break down or the performance of worn parts deteriorates too much. The improved service results in greater satisfaction with the car and enhanced brand loyalty. Therefore, digital twins are not merely virtual gimmicks; they offer concrete advantages that help to hit business targets.
Do the brakes fit?
However, it is also possible to connect the usage and design: Real vehicle components, such as braking systems, were created on automobile engineers‘ digital drawing boards. During the construction process, engineers began by using certain framework conditions and assumptions, typically based on their experience. They can now use digital twins to examine the set-up of braking systems in detail. Sensors report the forces that arise in certain situations, such as full brake application, to a digital twin. Using these findings, engineers can optimize products at an early stage. That means digital twins are helping the next generation of automobiles come to life.
Through connected cars, digitalization gives development engineers valuable insights into the real behavior of their products and, consequently, also gives engineers the chance to adapt their concepts for future model series to customer needs even better. Scalable storage and archiving resources for the accrued data form the basis for collecting this wealth of information. Furthermore, the developers need scalable computing resources that allow data to flow continually into modelings and automatically recognize trends using analytics or artificial intelligence. Nowadays, the best option for acquiring such resources is to obtain them from a secure cloud on a usage-oriented basis.
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