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Research & Technology

Galileo Online helps the railway with autonomous shunting

Autonomous driving is of interest not only to the auto industry. RWTH Aachen University, in collaboration with project partners, has developed a satellite navigation receiver specifically for railways.

14 Jul. 2018
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Galileo Online helps the railway with autonomous shunting (Photo: GSA (European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency))

The receiver, which is the core of GO! Technology, is connected to a service platform. This means that the incoming data can be evaluated for different purposes in a centralized way. One example is predictive maintenance, as the system can, for example, detect and report damaged parts on the track. The project partners chose two networks for positioning, which was particularly important in such applications. Both GPS and Galileo are used. The result is a “robust and highly accurate” availability of location data.

The system has several advantages. For example, shunting can be operated 24-hours a day, seven days a week. At the same time, safety is increased because fewer people have to work on the track. In addition, it also handles train-completeness verifications which is of interest to many railway operators, according to RWTH . The project was recently completed with a live demonstration.

Deutsche Bahn also relies on autonomous driving. A test was completed at the Paderborn maintenance center at the end of 2016, with the involvement of RWTH Aachen University. There up to 20 vehicles have to be driven in and out every day, and many more have to shunted. In addition, the railway has entered into a cooperation with the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (Berlin transport companies) . The route will go off the rail track here. The goal is to send a self-propelled minibus onto the road.