Embedded inside the R-S-R cycle, the concept of the ‘Digital Twin’ or ‘Digital Thread’ has come to the fore. As a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity, Digital Twins have the potential to accelerate and de-risk activities such as design, procurement, manufacturing, mission planning and training, and better enable enterprises to take a whole life approach to projects.
The Digital Twin approach is developing rapidly in non-defence sectors such as the automotive industry and there are examples in the military sector such as the F-35 fighter. For the F-35, ‘lessons learned’ from real missions become embedded into a simulation tactical training world integrated into the aircraft. The Digital Twin broadly includes any elements of AI/Machine Learning, Big Data, Robotics, Human-Computer Interaction, performance assessment, authoring, sensors and instrumentation and learning science/learning engineering.
The Digital Twin construct can extend to include synthetic representations of human teammates and is also complementary to the growing application of Industry 4.0, the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.