Virtual twins: the future of design and make

Virtual twin technology revolutionizes how you connect your 3D designs to real-world performance, delivering unparalleled accuracy and insights.

An illustration of a building with a virtual twin duplicate next to it.

What are virtual twins?

A virtual twin is a digital duplicate of a real-world object that goes beyond traditional 3D modeling. The virtual twin offers to run real-world simulations and gather deep performance analytics for new layers of insight and more intelligent decision-making.

A man looks at a virtual twin model on a tablet.

Why use virtual twins?

Unlike traditional 3D models, virtual twins provide real-time performance feedback, enabling dynamic, ongoing improvements. This level of detail can help makers lower costs by fine-tuning processes, equipment, and workflows for increased speed and efficiency. Virtual twins adapt to live data, allowing you to refine even post-prototype designs, reducing the time from concept to market. This increased efficiency using the virtual twins’ insights makes your operations faster, more affordable, and safer. Industries like medicine and transport have already embraced this technology, and now factories can use the same caliber of data-driven decision-making.

Benefits of virtual twins

Virtual twin technology revolutionizes every step from design to execution, dramatically simplifying processes and setting new standards in many industries.

Lower costs

Virtual twins let you test your design changes and see their impacts before committing to costly physical prototypes or production adjustments. Get real-time data and insights to optimize efficiency, minimize errors, and make smarter decisions—ultimately saving you time and money.


Speed up work processes

No more delays going back to the drawing board after each prototype. Evaluating your work in a complete environment simulation lets you do as many live runs as necessary to find the optimum design.


Improve safety

Whether it’s a robot/human collaboration space or practicing putting a stent in a patient’s artery, you can perfect the technique by practicing on a virtual twin as many times as necessary.


Fail early (and for free)

Design, test, tweak, and test again endlessly, finding and eliminating every choke point digitally before you begin the physical process.


Better collaboration

When deployed across a single platform, every vested project participant can add or interrogate virtual twin data that impacts their work, showing a more complete picture for everyone.


Autodesk software for virtual twins

Powerful BIM and CAD tools for designers, engineers, and contractors, including Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Autodesk Forma, and more

Get Inventor + AutoCAD + Autodesk Fusion + more—Professional-grade tools for product development and manufacturing planning.

Virtual twins meet the real world

Arcadis, a design firm, created 3D models to design the facility upgrades at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant in Toledo, Ohio, including this model of the Basin 7.


Fortifying aging water systems

Built in the 1940s, the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant in Toledo, Ohio, needed vital upgrades to existing systems. Urban architecture firm Arcadis created a virtual model from 3D scans using ReCap and Revit, with Infraworks adding GIS data—all while the plant was still up and running.


Image courtesy of Arcadis

Young girl smiles while peering through imaginary binoculars using her hand and her Limbitless prosthetic arm.


Building confidence with bionic arms for kids

Bionic arm maker Limbitless is a University of Central Florida nonprofit using Fusion 360 to make 3D printed prosthetic arms for kids—and creating virtual twins of prosthetics to make them a perfect fit for the user.


Digital image of a virtual twin used in a Windover Construction project.


Bridging the gap between construction and operation

General contractor Windover Construction was on a mission to improve the handover of client materials after construction—a virtual twin of the project was the answer.


Image courtesy of Windover Construction

Virtual twin resources

Learn how collecting data from across the project and connected domains (like the local environment) is putting tomorrow's manufacturing capability in your hands today.


Watch and learn how to better design a factory operation using a virtual twin, from collecting information to deploying and connecting your model.


Read how Scottish water authorities used virtual twin modeling to regulate water use in centuries-old water systems.


Discover how a Swedish architecture firm is using advanced technology to catalog building materials to maximize their reuse potential.


See how virtual twin technology allowed historians and engineers to reimagine the surrounding grounds after the devastating fire at Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral in 2019.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual twins

Virtual twins and digital twins—what’s the difference?

A digital twin is a digital representation of a project (process, system, object, etc.) directly from the 3D design model and can be quite static in its natural state.


A virtual twin goes deeper, introducing data beyond shapes, sizes, and dimensions. Temporal data about how a space or thing behaves over time reveals how it’s being used. Meanwhile, connecting the model to data from the wider environment lets you situate it in a more realistic modeling framework to reveal even richer performance measurements.