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In today’s train systems, interconnections and appropriate interoperability are not efficiently optimized. Many times, the braking, climate, door and electrical systems are designed by different companies without concerted efforts towards interoperability. As a result, we see a huge potential to improve train systems and focus on efficient interconnections, standardized interfaces and enhanced safety level of distributed train systems and applications.
Our research and innovation action project Safe4RAIL-2 (Safe architecture for Robust distributed Application Integration in roLling stock 2) will look at ways of utilizing wireless (5G), interoperable, on-board communication as well as universal integration of the Train Control and Monitoring System (TCMS). In collaboration with its complementary action project CONNECTA-2 (826098), Safe4RAIL-2 aims to develop railway demonstrators where next-generation architectures and components for TCMS will be integrated. Another aspect of the project is to perform testing of the TCMS functions in a simulated environment. These test methods alleviate field-testing which would be costly to undertake.
The results from Safe4RAIL-2 will define new train standards and pave the way for deterministic communications as well as secure and interoperable interconnections while increasing efficiency and safety of the TCMS.
Safe4RAIL-2 is driven by a well-balanced, European consortium composed of six industrial partners (including SMEs and large companies), one research institution and one academic partner providing their expertise from the automotive, aerospace, and railway sector in order to create synergies with existing and emerging concepts and technologies. This project piggybacks on recently completed projects such as Safe4RAIL (730830), which laid the groundwork for a smarter train by consolidating on-board systems.
Safe4Rail-2 aims to increase the flexibility and reliability of the TCMS communications, reduce development and maintenance costs, and achieve novel train functionalities, paying special attention to manufacturer interoperability and the availability of multiple sources. To achieve these goals Safe4RAIL-2 targets the following objectives:
Objective 1: Implementation of interoperable network devices for deterministic train communicationsDelivery of next-generation train network devices that integrate the Drive-by-Data concept based on Time Sensitive Network (TSN) technology, introducing deterministic communications at backbone and consist levels of the wired train network. Special attention will be paid to the interoperability among the two different equipment manufacturers in the consortium.
Objective 2: Development of wireless technologies for a wireless TCMSDevelopment and validation of LTE devices suitable for WireLess Train Backbone (WLTB) communications, using LTE-based Equipment and supporting direct Device-to-Device communication. Devices suitable for the WireLess Consist Network (WLCN) will also be developed.
Objective 3: Integration of TCMS subsystems on Functional Distribution FrameworkIntegration of a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) subsystem (i.e. a non-safety function) on top of the Functional Distribution Framework (FDF) implementations in two railway demonstrators; for this purpose, Safe4RAIL-2 will provide expertise on AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) Adaptive Platform, as a reference middleware for application development and integration, as well as previous understanding of the FDF architecture.
Objective 4: Simulation Framework for virtual certificationIntegration of an HVAC functionality in a Simulation Framework for remote Hardware-In-the-Loop tests towards virtual certification.
Objective 5: Demonstrator Integration and ValidationValidation in two railway demonstrators provided by CONNECTA-2 project. The background of the Safe4RAIL-2 consortium from previous Shift2Rail projects ensures the required expertise in the technologies to be integrated and as a consequence an extensive and efficient support to the demonstration activities.
Objective 6: Contribution to standardization in railway and wireless domainsMake inroads to the definition of new standards and contribute to already defined standards, in railway, wireless and deterministic communications, such as IEC 61375 standard series and ETSI/IEEE standards.
APPROACH & TECHNICAL CHALLENGE
Within Safe4RAIL-2, we aligned our project approach on the following four pillars:
Deterministic Train-Wide CommunicationsThe Drive-by-Data (DbD) concept developed in the completed projects CONNECTA (730539) and Safe4RAIL (730830) will be implemented at all network levels of the railway demonstrators in order to obtain a deterministic behaviour in train communications. This will imply modifying all the network elements that currently deploy the wired communications inside the train. For this purpose, the expertise of railway network-device manufacturers will be combined with Time-Sensitive Network (TSN) technology suppliers and system architects. Additionally, the interoperability among implementations from different device manufacturers will be carried out.
Wireless TCMSWireless technologies will be introduced in the railway demonstrators at both backbone and consist levels in order to replace currently-existing wired TCMS communications, creating WireLess Train Backbone (WLTB) and WireLess Consist Network (WLCN) solutions. The WLTB will be the cornerstone for the virtual coupling concept, while the WLCN will increase the flexibility and scalability of the communications inside the train. The inauguration of the train topology via these wireless technologies will also be explored.
Distributed Application DevelopmentPrevious projects have developed an abstraction middleware, called Functional Distribution Framework (FDF), which allows the integration of train functionalities with different Safety Integrity Levels (SIL) independently of the underlying hardware and communication capabilities. In the railway demonstrators, several train functions will be integrated on top of the FDF, proving the feasibility of distributed application development and device-independent implementations.
Virtual CertificationA Simulation Framework (SF) has also been defined by previous research projects for validation and virtual certification of train functionalities. This SF will also be integrated and validated in the railway demonstrators for different train functions. This tool will allow easier certification procedures and the integration of new train functionalities in the early stages of development.
In order to maximize the efficiency of Safe4RAIL-2 and focus on real-world impact throughout the project, we have designed a simple but targeted structure. The whole project is broken down into five work packages, which are further structured into tasks. The target of our project structure, underlying the work plan, is to meet the project’s main concepts and objectives.
The first three work packages, namely TSN-based Drive-by-Data; Future Wireless TCMS; Functional Distribution Framework and Simulation Framework, are dedicated to technological developments, which produce dedicated project outcomes such as deliverables and implementations. Apart from the purely technical WPs, there are two further work packages dealing with more administrative and management tasks.
The work packages in detail are:
(WP1) TSN-based Drive-by-DataThe goal of the Drive-by-Data network is to provide a robust, safe and secure communication system for the next generation TCMS, including real-time, mission-critical and non-critical functions. The DbD network will be based on strict temporal and spatial partitioning provided by deterministic Ethernet to provide the necessary means for data communication for all subsystems in the train.
(WP2) Future Wireless TCMSThe activity in this work package will be focused on several aspects for enabling the future deployment of a wireless TCMS. The core activities of this work package will be the development of LTE equipment suitable for Wireless Train Backbone (WLTB), in particular supporting deterministic D2D multicast communications. The train inauguration, considered a representative example of train backbone functionalities, will be validated using these LTE equipment.
(WP3) Functional Distribution Framework and Simulation FrameworkThe Functional Distribution Framework aims to offer an execution environment for distributed TCMS applications up to SIL4 that ensures a strict spatial and temporal partitioning, location transparency and abstraction from the underlying network protocols and hardware. The Simulation Framework enables remote and distributed validation of all TCMS subsystems, supporting SIL & HIL testing at different sites connected via internal LANs or the Internet.
(WP4) Dissemination, Communication, Exploitation and StandardisationThis work package is dedicated to the communication, dissemination, exploitation and standardisation of the project and its developments. The main objectives refer to the targeted communication of project results, the dissemination and contribution to a European Research Union as well as the exploitation of the scientific results to create competitive advantage with innovative products
(WP5) Project, Risk, and Innovation ManagementThis work package is responsible for the operational management and technical vitality of the Safe4RAIL-2 project encompassing management components on contractual, financial, legal, technical, administrative and ethical levels. The main objective is the establishment of a sound and flexible project management structure and an efficient management process as well as the provision of an effective risk management strategy, so as to avoid deviations from the work plan.