Rail automation based on tried and tested technology

Posted: 7 October 2022 | | No comments yet

As the digitalisation of rail continues, Bosch Engineering is researching and developing systems and functions for automation of rail traffic.

The transformation of mobility requires new solutions, and this also applies to rail traffic. To continue to improve the carbon footprint of the mobility sector, both freight and passenger transport by rail must be expanded even further.

Digitalisation and automation are the key to attractive transportation by train with more frequent trains, improved availability, and greater punctuality,” explains Heiko Mangold, Head of the Engineering Rail Technology business field at Bosch Engineering. “This allows the capacity of the existing rail network to be expanded considerably without having to lay a single metre of additional tracks. The long-term vision is fully automated, highly connected, and therefore efficient rail traffic with more frequent passenger and freight trains and high network utilisation.”

Tried and tested technology

Bosch Engineering has been researching and developing systems and functions for the automation of rail traffic for more than 10 years. For urban areas, the company offers a collision warning system for city rail transportation as a driver assistance system that supports tram drivers and considerably increases safety in city traffic. For mainline trains, Bosch Engineering is working on much more comprehensive solutions to support automation of driving functions, including normal rail traffic, shunting, and delivering and sorting trains in coach yards. For this purpose, the company also uses its extensive expertise in assistance systems and automation from the automotive sector. The focus of development is on systems for object and signal recognition and methods for object classification that interpret the surroundings of the train and help to prevent accidents during operation. Heiko comments: “The next step is then automating train traffic so that the conductor simply monitors operation and only needs to intervene in case of an emergency, all the way to full automation.”

Initial successful concepts implementations with Deutsche Bahn (DB) as part of the Sensors4Rail project of Digitale Schiene Deutschland and the Train Autonome – Service Voyageurs consortium by SNCF confirm the potential of Bosch Engineering’s software and hardware for automation. Work is currently being done to transfer the research and development results into products that are ready for use. Simulations and tests on different route profiles with different train and locomotive series are still to be performed in order to validate and optimise the data obtained.


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