Imec and TNO launch Digital Twin of the city of Antwerp

Digital 3D replica of the city and urban liveability

ANTWERP, 27 September, 2018 — This week, at SuperNova in Antwerp, imec, the world's leading research and innovation hub in the field of nanoelectronics and digital technology, and the Dutch innovation organisation TNO are launching a 'digital twin' of the city of Antwerp. This digital 3D replica of the city combines noise pollution data with real-time sensor information from air quality and traffic, and computer models. It offers an up-to-date and predictive view of the situation in the city whereby the impact of planned measures can be simulated and tested.

Cities face major and complex challenges to reduce CO2 emissions, noise and traffic pollution in the city centre and to keep the city attractive, liveable and healthy. Interventions to improve a situation in a particular neighbourhood can have an impact on multiple factors and/or multiple locations in a city. For example, making a particular street car-free can have a positive impact on the air quality and noise pollution of adjacent neighbourhoods, but could also cause mobility and air quality in other places to deteriorate.

The digital twin presented this week by imec and TNO is a highly realistic virtual representation of the city of Antwerp. It bridges the digital and physical worlds and supports policymakers and area developers in making complex decisions about urban quality of life. With the 'push of a button' the effects of certain scenarios on traffic, noise and air quality can be predicted in advance. The availability of more and up-to-date data from various sensors in the city makes future forecasts even more accurate and enables planners to make the best decisions for short-term measures. The digital twin was created on the basis of the simulation platform 'Urban Strategy' of the Dutch research institute TNO, on which imec builds a new interactive interface and provides sensor data to enable the real-time linking and enrichment of the models. Partners in the project are Dept MOW of the Flemish Government, TomTom and PTV Group.

“The possibilities of this tool are endless,” says Jan Adriaenssens, Programme Director City of Things, imec. “In principle, in the digital twin we can process all data that policymakers find important - from bicycle data to information about the sewerage system. Indeed, the city council has a digital control room at its disposal to plan measures to improve the quality of life and mobility of their city”

Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation, explains: “As cities grow and become more connected, city councils must look for innovative tools to meet the challenges posed by this evolution. The real-time data of the digital twin are indispensable for this. For Flemish cities, it is a step towards becoming true Smart Cities.”

“Antwerp is the ideal pilot city for the digital twin. It is a metropolis, a port city, with a mix of industry, buildings and retail and is home to innovative start-ups. A diverse mix of players who can work with the different facets of the digital twin. It is not for nothing that it is home to the City of Things project”, says Bart De Wever, Mayor of Antwerp.


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Hanne Degans
press communications manager - imec
Maarten Lörtzer 
Press Officer - TNO

About imec

Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 85 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2017, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 546 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).

About TNO

The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) is an independent research organization. We connect people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the sustainable competitive strength of industry and well-being of society. Now and in the future. This is our mission and it is what drives us, the over 3.000 professionals at TNO, in our work every day. We work in collaboration with partners and focus on transitions or changes in nine social themes that we have identified together with our stakeholders.

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