The project VirtualCity@Chalmers is a joint cooperation between Chalmers Area of Advance Building Futures, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics and the City of Gothenburg. The project, aiming at creating a simulation platform that can be used as a tool in urban development and building, only started in the beginning of 2018, but is now getting closer to releasing the first level tool, virtual twins of the Chalmers campuses Johanneberg and Lindholmen.
Vasilis Naserentin, of the Chalmers department of Mathematics and lead developer of VirtualCity@Chalmers, is giving an update on the current status of the project.
Vasilis, where in the process of creating the Virtual City@Chalmers platform are you right now?
- I came to realize that creating a digital twin of a live and breathing organism as a city cannot be streamlined. Thus, there are a lot of things in the development process happening in parallel, to cut down the wait time between different sub-teams of our group. As an overview I would say that we are deep into early development for the VirtualCity@Chalmers platform. We have already acquired and cleaned up a lot of 3D-data from various sources, integrated IPS IBOFlow and FEniCS as live multiphysics simulation tools in the software, but there is a long way to go still. Our main focus now is to release a working platform for the two campuses and at the same time form a solid development team for the next phases.
Any exciting new development lately?
- Glad you asked, since we have quite a few things stirring up! As cities are (should be) all about the citizens, VirtualCity@Chalmers is all about the research and developers behind it. Since we are just starting out (6 months into the development progress is considered very early for such a project) we are trying to create a solid team of members who are in it for the long run. Currently, we are hoping to recruit some more senior talent to our Unreal Engine development team. There is something in the making, something we hopefully can share soon.
In the meantime, we are always polishing our 3D data assets and graphics, as they are the vital building blocks of the VirtualCity@Chalmers, so hopefully we can showcase a much crispier and better looking version of both campuses Johanneberg and Lindholmen.
Another exciting mini-project we started working on is some detailed simulations of how wind will affect Linbanan, thanks to the integration of IPS IBOFlow in VirtualCity@Chalmers and the City of Gothenburg’s help with the 3D assets of the cable car model.
Moreover, we started working with Five Star Campus
on how to visualize some of their current activities on campus Johanneberg, so rather sooner than later you will see more about the integration of that project into VirtualCity@Chalmers.
It sounds very exiting. When do you expect to be ready to let VirtualCity@Chalmers go live?
- Software development (especially in an academic environment) is a very laborsome process and we are faced with many, both technological and social, challenges. Regarding the first, most of our issues arise from the quality of the 3D data, that need to be polished and cleaned up, especially to be simulation-ready for the end-product. As for the latter, we want to collaborate with many researchers from diverse fields. That ambition comes with the burden of having to communicate between many groups with different scientific backgrounds, datasets as well as software and hardware requirements for our platform.
Nonetheless, by the end of the year we plan to release a demonstrator of VirtualCity@Chalmers that includes the two campus sites of Chalmers University of Technology, and including visualization of multiple datasets and simulations from Chalmers researchers.
VirtualCity@Chalmers teaser video on Youtube
A couple of weeks ago a VirtualCity@Chalmers
was released – click here
check out the video on Youtube.
And if you are interested in reading more about the urban planning simulation platform project VirtualCity@Chalmers, welcome to visit our project website – virtualcity.chalmers.se
Text: Agneta Olsson and Vasilis Naserentin