The future wagon: The intelligent wagon

THE SHIFT2RAIL INITIATIVE’S IP5 INNOVATION PROGRAMME, SETS THE PATH FOR THIS FUTURE VIEW OF RAIL FREIGHT. CEIT-IK4 TECHNOLOGY CENTER IS COORDINATING THE WORK WITHIN THE JOINT UNDERTAKING TOWARDS THE INTELLIGENT WAGON.

The future wagon will be an intelligent wagon that integrates an IoT ecosystem that leverages innovation opportunities, in terms of noise emission, weight, capacity, logistics and life-cycle costs. Several new services enabled by key technology-drivers will be available, such as wireless communications and accurate positioning capabilities. Moreover, both the performance enhancement and lower cost of components such as sensors and processing units will also leverage the services expected from the intelligent wagon.

Cargo and wagons will be monitored through the use of sensors, thereby improving logistics and LCC by means of CBM. The wOBU (wagon On-Board Unit) component will use low-cost and high-performance processing units and their corresponding interfaces to manage all the intelligent wagon data. These data could also be employed for the driver assistance system (DAS). Finally, intra-train communication and trackside communication will provide cloud connectivity and allow operators and customers to manage relevant information. As a consequence, new services and business models will be leveraged. The figure attached depicts the intelligent wagon concept.

With the aim of answering the freight market’s demands for the modal shift to rail, in addition to the intelligent wagon, the future freight train will also include a number of other innovations. Next-generation freight bogies and wagons will be lightweight, faster and safer. New freight propulsión concepts will offer more attractive rail freight services by maximising flexibility and efficiency and reducing operational and maintenance costs. And autonomous train operation (ATO) for freight operation will increase the competitiveness of rail freight transport, improve operational efficiency and optimise the use of resources.