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EXCITING: Thales' Lucy has arrived at InnoTrans 2022! Everything you need to know about the rolling laboratory

EXCITING: Thales' Lucy has arrived at InnoTrans 2022! Everything you need to know about the rolling laboratory
photo: Thales/EXCITING: Thales' Lucy has arrived at InnoTrans 2022! Everything you need to know about the rolling laboratory
19 / 09 / 2022

Autonomous technology gives trains new superpowers. ​Imagine if your train could see and think for itself. It sounds like science fiction. Thanks to Thales, trains with autonomous capabilities are already becoming a reality. The Thales autonomous solution RailBot™ is one that enables the train to interpret its surroundings, make decisions and drive itself according to its mission, without any need for human intervention. We are not there yet – but several of the building blocks for autonomous operation are already being deployed or nearing maturity.

On-board Passenger Density Information and Video Security

Passenger information and video surveillance on trains provide an enhanced comfort experience for travelers. Thales' solution leverages the existing CCTV network on stations and onboard trains to provide real-time information on passenger density. Thales Video Analytics solution is based on a unique hardware embedded platform supporting advanced artificial intelligence algorithms. The purpose is to monitor passenger density and to balance efficiently the flow of passengers along train cars. ​ Therefore, passengers are oriented thanks to passenger information displays in order to enter the less crowded train car. Additionally, the Thales solution helps remote operators to manage crowds by adapting train scheduling through the Thales digital integrated platform. This one supervises the Wayside & Onboard subsystems remotely in real-time from Operation Control Centre (OCC), from controlling of passenger density, saving energy, and improving customer satisfaction. The use of 5G, the new generation of radio communications, enables the implementation of optimized telecommunications infrastructures, tailored to railway operators’ needs. 5G significantly boosts the performance and reliability of communications, with greater speed transmissions (up to 100x faster than 4G), very low latency, and a greater capacity to connect multiple intelligent devices onto one network. For instance, passenger comfort is drastically enhanced through real-time information displays. 5G also enables innovative core elements of railways, including autonomous systems and smart maintenance.

RailBot™ APS – Advanced Positioning System

As part of the innovation projects, the Advanced Positioning System is being tested as new technology to ensure precise position detection of the vehicle. Sensors, such as IMU, GNSS, radars, etc., are included. As a precision quality reference, so-called ground truth techniques were added such as continuous GNSS-real time kinematic tracing or Eurobalise points. The test drives are carried out with Thales’ own test vehicle Lucy, which offers ideal conditions as a test platform (installation of sensors etc.). In August 2021, the route was completely topologically mapped. For this, the infrastructure was measured with centimeter precision using a measuring system consisting of LIDAR, GPS, and cameras. A digital map (HD map) is created from this data, which serves as a reference for testing the APS sensors as well as other future systems.

RailBot™ Eye  Obstacle detection

Obstacle detection is the ability to detect, classify and respond to objects in front of (and around) the train using sensors and sophisticated computer algorithms. Obstacle detection is a core feature in a fully autonomous and driverless system. This Thales solution provides trains with a new visual sense using Artificial Intelligence to navigate autonomously in an “open-world environment”. It will be used in normal traffic, as the train will be able to distinguish between relevant types of obstacles and determine the level of risk in order to take the right decision.

“Autonomy is still a work in progress with technologies that are maturing rapidly. Thales has a clear vision for autonomy and is working in partnership with its customers and partners to deliver the transformation," says Dr. Yves Joannic, VP Main Line Signalling Managing Director, Ground Transportation Systems Thale

Autonomy delivers both energy savings and performance enhancements that make rail more attractive to passengers. Taking the train is an attractive alternative to journeys by road. Rail consumes 12 times less energy and emits up to 11 times less CO2 per passenger/kilometer compared with cars and trucks.

 

Source: Thales Group News Releases

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