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Berner & Mattner received research grant for train position determination

The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) has awarded a project to a consortium led by Berner & Mattner Systemtechnik GesmbH in Vienna. Partners of Berner & Mattner in the project “DITPOS RAIL – Demonstrate the integrity of train positioning at the railway” are Teleconsult Austria GmbH, specializing in navigation and mobility, and the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. The project will involve the satellite-supported position determination of rail vehicles and has the task of preparing a reliable solution for light rail and urban transport considering the needs for formal approval.

Berner & Mattner engineers, specialized in Systems and Safety Engineering as well as the development and testing of powerful electronic systems, will work together with our partners on the design for a satellite-supported positioning system that meets the high safety and security requirements of rail technology. The goal of DITPOS RAIL is an integrated positioning system based on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in combination with European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and supplemented with information from autonomous vehicle sensors, that need no installations along the track.

The goal: approval-readiness

Satellite-supported positioning is a worthy goal as a cost-effective replacement for train positioning systems with costly railside equipment, in particular for light rail. At the same time, train positioning systems must meet very strict requirements in terms of reliability, accuracy, availability, and the integrity of position data, since incorrectly detected positions of rail vehicles can lead to significant hazard. The DITPOS RAIL project will therefore introduce an integrity calculation algorithm that meets the requirements for later approval. The project results will include a system description and a safety concept that is particularly suitable for use in light rail and municipal public transit. The project, as part of the ASAP10 program, will also include the development of a functional demonstrator. In addition to its role as head of the consortium, Berner & Mattner also brings in its extensive competence in the development of complex safety-relevant systems. Industry-specific know-how in rail technology ensures that high safety system requirements are already considered during the system specification phase, paving the way for later approval of the positioning system on rail vehicles.

Direct relation to practice

“DITPOS RAIL is far more than a research project. Both in form and in content, it is oriented from the start towards the requirements of an approval. By involving regional rail operators like Stern & Hafferl, we can ensure right from day one that there will be a basis for later use in practice. The development of a demonstrator will also permit the early evaluation of the target solution regarding its functionality and added value for the future customer,” explains Manfred Heidegger, team lead at Berner & Mattner.

The integration of regional rail operators in the project ensures that the requirements of potential end users will be taken into consideration and will also permit the validation of the demonstrator in operation on a rail vehicle. Building on the project results, products and services can be developed for new rail applications, for example the GNSS-controlled activation of rail crossings. In the long term, this can significantly reduce the costs of modernization of light rail and crossings – a reduction in infrastructure costs with a simultaneous increase in safety.

Photo*Berner & Mattner

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