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Thales rolls out new digital rail solutions for greener mobility

April 20, 2021
oil and gas

Global technology leader Thales has announced the launch of new digital rail solutions aimed at improving operations efficiency and passenger experience for a greener mobility.

These eco-responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based systems will be instrumental in helping operators monitor social distancing and reduce density of passengers in stations and on-board trains, said senior Thales officials at its first ever digital event dedicated to rail transport, 'Smart Mobility Experience' held last month.

The event saw major players in the rail ecosystem being introduced to new products and major innovations, as well as to exchange about the digitalization and the future of rail.

According to Thales, the digital solutions contribute to green mobility by reducing by up to 15% CO2 emissions from metro and stations.

Rail transport operators are looking to innovative digital solutions and services for improved service performance and energy efficiency, and to boost the attractiveness for users.

In Europe, operators spend between 15 and 25 billion euros each year on maintenance and renewal. Thanks to predictive maintenance, the rail market should potentially save of up to 30% of these maintenance costs, stated the technology major.

Thales helps transporting passengers safely, and with best possible experience, supervises operations with accurate situation awareness, and optimizes transport service efficiency, it added.

During the digital event, Thales unveiled its new digital age metro signaling system that offers seamless upgrade capabilities and is “autonomy ready”.

Using digital technologies such as IoT, 5G, cloud and web IT, data analytics and AI, Thales has been designing innovative solutions such as digital signalling, train autonomy, mobile ticketing, passenger flow analytics, data driven operation control, smart maintenance, which will drastically impact the way we all travel.

With the digital architecture of Thales’ latest metro signalling system SelTrac G8, software functionalities are permanently upgradable with no traffic disruption, a modular and resilient equipment platform approach allows for future technology insertion such as train autonomy, and health monitoring facilitates data driven operations and maintenance.

SelTrac G8 helps operators reduce installation and maintenance costs while upgrading system functionalities to meet passenger demand, preserving safety and service reliability.

'Based on Artificial Intelligence video analytics, Diva leverages the existing CCTV (closed circuit TV) network on stations and on-board trains to provide real-time information on passenger density. The targeted performances of density accuracy are above 90%, stated Millar Crawford, the Executive VP Thales’s Ground Transportation Systems.

Sustainable mobility is another driving force that pushes Thales to innovate. Thanks to the capability of a number of complex algorithms, its driver advisory system, GreenSpeed, can optimise the speed for energy saving, observed Crawford.

This will reduce emissions for up to 15% that is the equivalent to the consumption of a city of some 2 000 inhabitants per year.

'For metros, Thales latest signalling system SelTrac will enable to reduce traction energy consumption by 15% when compared to traditional CBTC by loading efficient speed profiles into the train’s on-board system,' he explained.

Co-innovation is also essential as it bridges the gap between a new concept or technology in the lab and an actual working solution solving a real operational problem.

According to him, this accelerates market entry for new solutions, and is a sign of trust between customers and Thales.

'For instance Thales works with New York Metro and France National Railways for autonomous metros and trains, German national Railways for advanced signaling concepts, or Singapore Metro for passenger guidance systems and hands-free ticketing,' he noted.

'In a competitive market, it is absolutely vital that industrials find ways to make railway more attractive. And this is where innovation helps. One of the biggest challenges today is that you can’t just close down a railway network while you upgrade them,' remarked Crawford.

'People still need to go to work and to travel. That’s why we’re putting so much effort into the solutions that can be deployed whilst having minimal disruption,' he added.