Incorporating 5G wireless and knowing the state of a train and its load via the cloud are some of the concepts that are planned for the train of the future
Several research teams at Ceit-IK4 are working on projects that are part of the Shift2Rail program. The aim of the EU-backed initiative is to cut the cost of train construction in half, double the capacity of European rail lines and improve the reliability and punctuality of trains by 50% by the year 2021.
To that end, the Single European Railway Area (SERA) will be created, with the goal of promoting more efficient and safer railways for the transport of passengers and goods. This approach will also help address the main environmental challenges that we as a society must face in the coming years: increased traffic and climate change.
The Shift2Rail program consists of five lines of research. Researchers at Ceit-IK4 are already working on projects in two of the lines: Advanced Traffic Management and Control Systems and "Technologies for Sustainable and Attractive European Rail Freight.
Ceit-IK4’s work on the first research line tackles railway management and includes work on safe positioning and train reliability, all of which directly contributes to railway safety. This is the backdrop for the 'X2Rail1' project, which seeks to install 5G on trains in order to improve the speed and security of train-to-train communications. This project will establish the communications backbone for the train of the future. At the same time, the 'X2Rail2' project aims to ensure the reliability of rail cars and their engines by embedding an on-board autonomous system that does not depend on external elements.
The second research line that Ceit-IK4 is working on addresses freight transport, where the goal is to increase the quality and capacity of freight cars. The FR8Rail project aims to build a location monitoring system in order to know where each rail car is at all times and to detect the condition of the freight being carried. The FR8Hub project will monitor the condition of railway infrastructure in order to detect the state the rail cars themselves as well as the rails that they travel on.