Digital Twin for Driving

Digital tools for mapping are now an integral tool for navigation. Waze, Google maps have leveraged Satellite and Google Street imagery which allow us to have an accurate representation of any set of Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates. This technology evolved just a couple of months ago with the release in May 2023 of dynamic models of the Earth. Companies like Cesium, a Google backed up startup based in Philadelphia is offering Unity and Unreal models of the Earth, with an Application Programming Interface (API) that can be leveraged for any dynamic Geospatial application. While a number of drone applications have been developed, no solid test has been developed for a driving application. The research team proposes with this project to test the Unity and Unreal API of the Earth to assess the drivability of these Virtual Reality models. The team will partner with Jitsik LLC, a small startup in Mixed Reality who has been paving the way in this direction. Jitsik recently established a proof of concept for driving, by integrating two scenarios taken from Google Earth. The first scenario is a mountainous road just outside Denver, Colorado. The second scenario is a downtown neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. These proofs of concept were quite successful in the sense that they were easy to deploy, with very little coding. On the downside, the simulated Denver downtown neighborhood offered a rough terrain. It is indeed the result of imperfections from the satellite imagery. The team proposes with this project to explore the drivability of this Unity/Unreal Earth API. The team proposes to target the Roosevelt Blvd in Philadelphia, which has already been the subject of academic research (Erick Guerra). The Roosevelt Blvd lies in an urban area, but often feels like a highway. The team proposes to leverage the Digital Twin of the Roosevelt Blvd and develop filtering techniques to remove existing traffic, smooth the road. Once the environment has been cleaned up, the team will add Virtual Traffic lights and stops to make the scenario ready for a Human Subject Research Project. The team anticipates some techniques developed through this research project will become part of a toolkit that can be applied to any neighborhood in the world to create a Digital Twin of that neighborhood. This project is a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania Engineering Department and Jitsik LLC, a startup in Mixed Reality, led by Dr. Helen Loeb. Helen has been working in driving simulation for over a decade.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $159179
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Safety21 National UTC for Promoting Safety
    Pittsburgh, PA  United States  15213

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Center Program
  • Managing Organizations:

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Safety21 National UTC for Promoting Safety
    Pittsburgh, PA  United States  15213
  • Project Managers:

    Stearns, Amy

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Pennsylvania

  • Principal Investigators:

    Guerra, Erick

  • Start Date: 20230701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01900371
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety21
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552344811
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 21 2023 8:10PM