Over the past three years, ASDL has contributed to the development of two documents focused on the definition and implementation of Digital Twins. These documents aim at fostering the understanding and adoption of digital twins to benefit the aerospace industry.

Published in 2020, the first paper, “Digital Twin: Definition & Value,” was a collaboration between the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). The AIAA Digital Engineering Integration Committee authored the paper, which was approved by the leadership of both organizations. ASDL research faculty Olivia Fischer and WoongJe Sung contributed to this paper.

The purpose of the paper is to provide an aerospace industry perspectives (including civil, military, and commercial) on the Digital Twin and the significant benefits and rationale to accelerate embracing the fourth industrial revolution referred to as digital transformation. This position paper represents a single coherent consensus of opinions across multiple organizations within the aerospace industry.

It defines a Digital Twin as a set of virtual information constructs that mimics the structure, context and behavior of an individual / unique physical asset, or a group of physical assets, is dynamically updated with data from its physical twin throughout its life cycle and informs decisions that realize value. The paper also includes a number of applications from aerospace industry and academia perspectives to illustrate how Digital Twins help improve performance, affordability and reliability and increase organizational efficiency.

During the AIAA SciTech Forum in January 2023, AIAA released an implementation paper to advance the use of Digital Twins across the aerospace industry. The paper, “Digital Twin: Reference Model, Realizations & Recommendations,” is a collaboration with AIA and the Americas Regional Steering Committee of the International Association for the Engineering Modelling, Analysis and Simulation Community (NAFEMS). The AIAA Digital Engineering Integration Committee authored the paper and substantial contributions were made by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Patterns Working Group, and the Digital Twin Consortium, a community of the Object Management Group (OMG). ASDL research faculty Scott Duncan, Olivia Fischer, Jung-Ho Lewe, and WoongJe Sung contributed to the paper.

As part of the release, co-authors Fischer and John Matlik of Rolls-Royce discussed the paper during the SciTech session entitled, Digital Twin and Digital Thread Integration. As part of the session, they shared the specific next steps toward Digital Twin implementation advocated for in the paper:

• Create and/or leverage an existing Aerospace Digital Transformation Consortium (ADTC) that will champion and coordinate implementation and consistency management efforts across industry, academia, and government. • Launch an initial pathfinder effort on Joint All Domain Command & Control (JADC2).

This paper also included as a case study Georgia Tech’s Kendeda Building Digital Twin, which was created by ASDL in support of the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design (KBISD). Use of the Digital Twin made it possible for KBISD to receive certification in 2021 as a “Living Building” from the International Living Futures Institute.