In 2020, the City of Gothenburg is developing a digital twin, Virtual Gothenburg. It is a copy of the city that we see when we are out and walking on the street, i.e. the physical environment. Virtual Gothenburg Lab is a new initiative that creates a unique opportunity to test visual, digital and virtual work approach in Virtual Gothenburg for the purpose of developing its usability.
"The information about Gothenburg, the city, that is included in Virtual Gothenburg is very valuable. Our role is to increase the usability of the information and there are certainly other parties that have information that the city could benefit from," says Monica Ek, Project Manager for Virtual Gothenburg Lab.
The City Planning Office plays an important role, including that of Eric Jeansson, who is the Project Manager for Virtual Gothenburg.
"How can we create a digital twin in Gothenburg? That's what we want to know. And that's why we're inviting all these partners, companies and interested parties to participate in a project in which we can create together and fulfil various needs. My expectation is that we'll achieve it and that we're certain to have this shared picture of what this digital twin should be used for," says Eric Jeansson, Geodata Strategist at the City Planning Office.
Broadly Based Collaboration
The project is a collaboration between academics, industry and the public sector to attempt to design Virtual Gothenburg in order to provide the greatest possible benefit. This is ensured with a broad anchoring in relation to how a digital twin for a city can be used and designed.
"A fantastic kick-off takes place today. What's also wonderful is that we're bringing together diverse participants. It's a joint effort by industry, academics and the public sector to solve a task. Many are confident that we can do something really great together, something that stands out. Thanks to this initiative, we're even talking about becoming world pioneers with these digital twins in western Sweden," says Eric Jeansson.
There are 25 parties involved in Virtual Gothenburg Lab, which means that there is both broad expertise to lean on and diverging expectations on individual participation within the project.
"My expectation is that we'll learn to work with data in a very general way. Data is worthless without insight, and insight comes when information converges with other information. It means that it's very important to learn to work against data as well as with data, and to think about how it works in various organisations. I think that a test bed can create a better understanding for this," says Kristina Knaving, Senior Researcher at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.
"The reason that we're part of this project is that we want to have access to the type of test bed that we're going to develop here. But we'll also contribute by sharing a huge amount of data, not only 3D models but also other types of data that we collect from cars. Ultimately, I hope that we obtain a real-time function that's connected to this test lab, so that we can see things that are happening right now," says Casper Wickman, Senior Technical Leader at Volvo Cars.
Focus on Sharing Knowledge
During the kick-off for Virtual Lab Gothenburg, a lot of time was spent on obtaining a common picture of objectives as well as how the various parties will be able to learn from mutual advancements as the project progresses. There was a lot of buzz around the tables at which various parties had been divided into groups in order to discuss knowledge sharing.
"Today we talked about the value of doing this and how we'll be able to create a very cross-functional network with people whom we would not normally work so closely. The importance of transparency with respect to the sharing of knowledge is also a key element to understanding needs. I think it's important to reflect on and examine one's own organisation in order to help solve not only our own problems, but those of others as well," says Caspar Wickman.
There is no mistaking the level of commitment, as Monica Ek confirms:
"It feels great with the kick-off here today! It's exciting to see the faces of all the people and all the parties that are involved in the project," says Monica. "If you want to know more about the project, you can visit our website or follow Visual Arena's newsletter. You're also welcome to contact me directly!" she says.
A Test Bed for Societal Challenges
Virtual Gothenburg Lab is a so-called test bed that has been made possible thanks to financing from Vinnova. The test bed is a virtual environment in which companies, charity organisations, academics, institutions and other organisations can collaborate in the development, testing and introduction of products, services, processes or organisational solutions. The aim of Virtual Gothenburg Lab is to be able to find a way to reach out with the digital twin and improve conditions for analysis, insight, planning, decision making, teaching, communications, collaborative creation and participation for Virtual Gothenburg.
Åsa Andblad, Visual Arena's programme manager, is responsible for promoting the initiative as well as for the preparation project and the application procedure. She looks forward to the developments:
"The initiative started in the summer of 2018, and now we're under way with a fantastic, exciting and important project. We look forward to the development of the test bed and its future operation. In line with Visual Arena's focus areas, it will contribute to strengthening the development capacity of a sustainable city. It will also contribute to an increased capacity to understand, analyse and work with data as well as create new experiences and ways of learning," says Åsa.
Virtual Gothenburg Lab - Project Partners
City of Gothenburg by way of the City Planning Office, the Traffic Administration Office, the Recycling and Water Department, the Social Resource Management, Consumer and Resident Services, Intraservice as well as Lindholmen Science Park by way of Visual Arena and AI Innovation of Sweden. Other partners include Business Region Göteborg, Göteborgs Regionen, Universeum, RISE Interactive, Chalmers University of Technology, Volvo Cars, Tengbom, Berge, AFRY, Ramboll, Insert Coin, HiQ, OutHere, Atvis, Bumbee Labs, Unicornsulting and Ordrum.
For Gothenburg's 400-year anniversary in 2021, a three-dimensional, digital twin copy of the city will be created, Virtual Gothenburg. The virtual environment will be a reflection of the physical environment and will connect information that describes the city. It will be possible to use Virtual Gothenburg for, among other things, planning and discussions relating to urban development and future innovation within the city.
Contact for Virtual Gothenburg Lab
031-368 17 83