Today many products are digitalised in order to make them ”smart” so they will be able to produce new functionalities for their users. For each product, different levels of smartness can be achieved. This is illustrated in the Porter and Heppelmann ladder illustrated below (The "smart systems" ladder).
For each of the steps on this ladder, different enabling technologies are necessary to succeed on that particular step.
The four steps and their enabling technologies are:
Our research aims to improve the methods and tools for the development of smart products for the three highest levels in the ladder. We use a model-based approach and incorporate technologies in particular from machine learning and big data analysis in order to intelligently optimise the behaviour of smart systems as well as shorten the time-to-market for such products.
More recently, we conduct research on exploiting models of CPSs and systems of CPSs (CPSoSs) in a digital twin context. A digital twin is a digital replica of physical assets, processes, people, places, systems or devices, created and maintained in order to answer questions about its physical counterpart. We focus on how digital twins can be created from models developed during the engineering of a CPS, and can be used during its deployment. Aarhus University's Centre for Digital Twins is led by Peter Gorm Larsen.
Our research also includes incorporating the human-in-the-loop to determine the best approach for autonomy in different situations, for example in connection with vehicles.
In particular in relation to digital twins, this research area envisages strong collaboration possibilities with the "Science and Engineering of Machine Intelligence" and the "Internet of Things" research areas within DIGIT. In fact, numerous research applications have been submitted for external funding in order to establish this research collaboration.