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Automatic wagons control project launched in Germany

Automatic wagons control project launched in Germany
photo: Metrans/Metrans
12 / 06 / 2021

The DigiTwin project was recently launched to develop automatic measuring systems capable of creating a "digital twin" of passing cars to support train preparation and predictive maintenance.

The two-year project is carried out by Bonn-based rail monitoring company RailWatch and freight operator Metrans Rail (Deutschland), supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, amounting to EUR 3,5 million

The aim is to automatically detect, analyze and digitize vehicle status information, thus replacing the need for activities currently carried out manually due to the low level of automation and digitization in the sector, stated RailWatch.

The measurement systems will mostly be developed internally by RailWatch and will include cameras, lighting, laser sensors, thermal sensors, and acoustic sensors. They will record wheel profiles, flat wheel locations, heat build-up, record views from the floor and side, and evaluate the clearance of the loading area.

"Tens of thousands" of images and "huge amounts" of sensor data will be collected from each passing train, with artificial intelligence-based software developed that automatically records and analyzes each relevant area and creates a digital twin for each passing vehicle.

The overall goal is to make rail transport more efficient and more competitive with road transport, said Michael Breuer, managing partner at RailWatch. "So far, there is no comparable system that digitally captures the full technical condition of freight wagons to this extent, thus allowing an assessment against the terms of the framework contract for the use of the wagons."