COAT on-board equipment – making sure the train understands the rails.

In terms of on-board equipment, too, digitisation and the required vehicle updates are accelerating. The aim of smartrail 4.0 is to introduce new features quickly and easily and therefore reduce the high degree of complexity of availability and non-standardised vehicle architectures.

Digitisation brings a high level of automation, top-performing features, low development costs for each feature and the opportunity to bring about rapid change and advancement. It also achieves high levels of networking and thus more and more compatibility relationships, rapid growth of the feature set and short life cycles – in sum, it inevitably creates variety and dynamics.

On the vehicle side, many functions are to be implemented within the smartrail 4.0 programme: from ETCS Level 3 to FRMCS data communications, the virtual electronic signpost and mobile traffic control. With a fundamentally different approach similar to examples from the avionics and car manufacturing sectors, a standardised architectural concept is envisaged, with separation of hardware and software procurement.

This is an approach with great potential, as the standardisation of generic vehicle  equipment and vehicle interfaces can simplify the architecture, reduce component diversity and reduce integration and accreditation effort. Upgradability is thus greatly simplified, which also reduces upgrade costs. In addition, a standardised, open system ensures better quality through greater transparency. This in turn has a positive effect on the operating quality and safety. An open, standardised platform for introducing new functions in vehicles is fundamental for the functions that are constantly being developed in smartrail 4.0 and other or later programmes.