Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in Canada and gaming platform Unity have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to commercialize YVR’s digital twin model by bringing it to the broader aviation market so other airports can advance their digital transformation.
YVR’s digital twin is the first major product out of YVR’s Innovation Hub, which was launched in 2021 as a people-first technology initiative to advance the airport’s vision to power the future through innovation and sustainable technology solutions. The tool facilitates optimization, future planning, simulation, training and testing by aggregating and visualizing data across disparate sources. Through the integration of sensors and historical and real-time data into the platform, the digital twin strategically presents key information in 2D and 3D, enabling data-driven decision making and collaboration which has never been available before.
Lynette DuJohn, VP of innovation and CIO at Vancouver Airport Authority, said, “From the beginning, YVR’s digital twin has been centered around our people – employees, passengers and the community. In bringing our digital twin to the global aviation market, we look forward to working with other airports, and industry partners, to positively transform the way they serve their passengers through the possibilities this exciting technology offers.”
Ryan Peterson, VP, Accelerate Solutions, at Unity, said, “I am very excited about Unity and YVR’s joint go-to-market plan for an airport digital twin platform. The last three years have seen a tremendous amount of collaboration, boldness and vision from both organizations, and I believe this digital twin platform can provide incredible value to airports around the world. Accelerating aviation’s digital transformation will have a massive, positive impact on our society, with the goal of driving efficiencies in the transport of people and goods.”
Since 2021, the YVR digital twin platform has addressed various operational challenges amid changing aviation and travel realities. During the 2022 peak summer travel season, YVR’s Guest Experience Team used the digital twin to relieve passenger congestion at security checkpoints. To support YVR’s decarbonization goals and help the aviation industry reach net zero emissions by 2030, YVR is working in collaboration with carrier partners to build a greenhouse gas calculation model that monitors, maps out and analyzes more efficient aircraft movements with the aim to reduce airside emissions.