Bentley Systems' iTwin digital twin platform will integrate with Nvidia's cloud-based Omniverse system to provide a graphics pipeline for AI-enhanced, real-time visualization and simulation of infrastructure digital twins, the technology firms said.

The partnership, which was already being used by beta testing customers but announced at the GPU Technology conference last month, allows millimeter-accurate iTwin content to be visualized with photorealistic lighting and environmental effects on devices such as web browsers, workstation PCs and tablets, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality headsets. I

It is Nvidia's second Omniverse partnership with a design technology company after announcing a similar partnership with Autodesk last year.

Nvidia has been working to apply its Omniverse ray-tracing and rendering technologies to construction workflows, and by partnering with Bentley, can now offer photo-realistic rendering in digital walkthroughs of major infrastructure projects such as design of the $1.2-billion Northeastern wastewater purification plant for Houston Water Works.

"The industry is moving in a positive direction toward more automated and sophisticated tools that improve client outcomes,” said Donna DeMarco, digital delivery specialist for plant information modeling at Jacobs, the project's design firm.

Modern graphical rendering technology essentially came from two sources of demand, says Richard Kerris, Nvidia general manager of Omniverse.

These are rendering graphics for video games that operate at a high frame rate and need immediate results, as well as photorealistic graphic renderings often used for film and television productions that are generated using as much time and effort as needed.

"You'll give up a lot of things [in game rendering] in order to ensure the real-time," he says."Then there's photo-realistic rendering where you'll take as much time as necessary to make it look truly believable and true-to-life, but there's never really been a collaboration between the two because typically games are going to be played on a phone or console or other device."

He adds that "Typically, photorealism is going to take whatever time it needs and however many machines it needs to make a movie. We were able to combine the best of both worlds. We can apply multi-GPU rendering to gameplay with photorealistic ray tracing."

Lori Hufford, Bentley vice president of applications integration, said that using more powerful visualization for simulation has opened up new possibilities for customers in the iTwin/Omniverse beta group.

"You can spot safety issues with bridges without having to do risky onsite inspections," she says. "With a digital twin of a construction project it opens up a lot of different possibilities. Stakeholders can model construction sequencing in 4D, meaning they can simulate the logistics and set utilization rates."

The partnership can deliver "true-to-reality, physics-based simulation of even the largest and most complex infrastructure assets," said Bentley CEO Greg Bentley in a statement.