Spawning a digital twin: bridge carrying the Metropolitan Line over the A4145

THE WELDING Institute, construction firm James Fisher and the Brunel Innovation Centre at Brunel University London are developing a smart bridge. The bridge is a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge carrying London Underground’s Metropolitan Line over the A4145 to Rickmansworth near Watford. The bridge is embedded with sensors to monitor safety, wear and tear, with this data fed via the cloud into algorithms that analyse the bridge’s structure and condition and map it in real time onto an exact virtual model. The technology will help engineers predict how the bridge will react to different weather conditions, amounts of traffic and ground vibrations as well as identifying bridge strikes. Construction firm James Fisher will be able to apply lessons learned to other bridges it monitors across the UK. The 26-month project, backed by Innovate UK, has now passed the halfway stage. The goal is to develop a product the transport and energy supply industries can use to keep a real-time virtual check on the safety of their structures