Localisation, Connectivity, Security

Localisation, Connectivity, Security (LCS) – a strong trio.

Localising trains even more precisely. Communicating using powerful mobile telephony. Closing safety gaps using the latest technical equipment. In these fields too, the industry programme smartrail 4.0 is developing new solutions to meet the future needs of the railway industry.

Localisation calls for reliability.

The ability to precisely locate people and machinery has long existed in the military and in the field of aviation, but as yet this has been associated with complex technologies and high costs. However, in recent years a dynamic has come into being based upon proven technology and fuelled by the development of self-driving road vehicles. We, the partners of smartrail 4.0, have picked up the ball and are currently working with industry on new products such as mobile train localisation that benefit from this precise localisation technology. More precise mobile localisation permits denser train operations, and makes production processes more efficient and safer – for example during the shunting of trains.

Connectivity calls for strong partners.

Customers are demanding ever more powerful mobile network coverage, and this is also needed for the digitalisation of rail services. To implement the smartrail 4.0 concept, the intelligent technology requires a rapid, seamless and secure mobile network, for example between trains and signal boxes.

The communication system of the track GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communications – Rail) is currently the voice and data radio system that provides the connection to the Train, for example for communication between traffic controller and train driver. It is also used for supporting activities such as system monitoring, process support and, for example, GSM-R-based train dispatching and customer information. However, GSM technology will only be supported by public mobile providers for a few more years. In addition, the 30-year-old GSM-R technology uses the available radio frequencies in a very inefficient way, meaning that radio capacity problems are set to increase in Switzerland. Moreover, since GSM-R cannot meet the need for ETCS driver’s cab signalling in major nodes, this technology is coming to the end of its life.

In collaboration with mobile providers and by the construction of new hardware along track sections, we are working together to find new solutions. Only thus will the continuous communication between all necessary components that is required for the future smartrail 4.0 project be smoothly implemented.

Security calls for strong architecture.

In addition to benefits such as efficiency, capacity and security, the modern technologies currently used within smartrail 4.0 are opening up new opportunities – and creating new risks – in the field of cyber security. We are systematically exploiting the opportunities, whilst reducing the risks until they are as close to zero as possible. In this context, in addition to more in-depth discussions on suitable network architecture, a suitable security architecture must also be defined that provides both application security and network security.