What would you say if your vehicle could give an early warning for an upcoming service, warn you preventively of dangerous road conditions, or help you maximize the money you can get for it when replacing or selling it? Thanks to Porsche’s digital-twin technology, these are just some of the features of future vehicles.
But what exactly is digital-twin technology, you must be wondering. Simply put, it is a virtual copy of an existing facility, whether it is a vehicle, system, or component, that can be monitored, diagnosed, and on which database analyzes can be performed. The mentioned technology enables all of the above without the need for physical interaction with the vehicle or vehicle parts.
Porsche has been working on digital-twin technology on its Taycan electric models for the past three years. So far, they have focused mostly on the vehicle chassis, as it is one of its most important parts.
The development of digital twin technology is the responsibility of the software company Cariad, which is part of the Volkswagen Group.
For example, after a vehicle crosses an awkward hole, it can warn the driver that one of the shock absorbers may need to be replaced in the next week or two, explained Philip Müller, one of Cariad’s chassis and special projects managers. After that, the vehicle could warn the driver of the inevitable breakdown and inform the driver’s favorite car service, so that spare parts can be procured on time and so that the repair lasts as short as possible, and the whole thing gives the impression of solving on the go.
The air suspension of the Porsche Taycan is already being monitored with the help of this technology, and half of the owners of these vehicles are participating in a test pilot program. The system collects vehicle acceleration data and compares it with information coming from the rest of the Taycan fleet in the program. If a threshold is exceeded, the system will warn the driver to take the vehicle to a service center for inspection.
Since Porsche values the privacy of drivers, anyone who wants to be part of the pilot program must voluntarily agree to it, and all data collected is anonymous.
Digital-twin technology can also be applied to other systems in the vehicle, such as vehicle propulsion, or to only occasional problems, such as noise produced by the vehicle in certain parking spaces and the like. The digital twin can show at which vehicle speed the problem with the steering wheel occurs.
The same technology can alert Porsche owners to dangerous road conditions, such as ice on the road.
Ultimately, digital twinning can also help raise the value of the owner’s vehicle by using his driving habits, but that option isn’t available yet, and Porsche isn’t even sure yet when it will be.
What is certainly great is that this technology is feasible without adding an extra mass of sensors and cameras to vehicles.
We only have software algorithms that detect problems, Müller said.
The first mass-produced model from Porsche with digital-twin technology as standard equipment is expected as early as next year.
By: Amber V. – Zexron