Thales China Innovation Team, for the first time, has won the “Innovation Awards for Franco-Chinese Teams” in the Innovative Product category granted by Comité France Chine.
This awarded project named STARC (Sécurité des Transports Alertes Risques Collisions) is a joint effort of both Chinese and French teams to improve safety at level crossings, demonstrating Thales' integrated capabilities drawing on local innovation and global teams cooperation.
Benefited from the leading AI ecosystem in China, Thales is appling cutting-edge cloud and AI-based technology in ground transportation domain for France and even European markets.
Thales China Innovation Hub Ground Transportation System team has recently won the 2021 “Innovation Awards for Franco-Chinese Teams” in the category of Innovative Product with its STARC (Sécurité des Transports Alertes Risques Collisions) project. Taking 2 years’ efforts, the award-winning technical achievement will not only decrease the risk of accidents at level crossings (horizontal crossings of railways and roads) and significantly improve road safety, but also contribute to European standards for level crossings protection. It is also a reflection of innovation cooperation between the two countries.
Thales’ autonomous stand-alone STARC solution is a safety warning system using a set of cloud & AI-based technology, reducing potential dangers at level crossings by limiting the risk of collision. For a long time, level crossings have been a frequent occurrence of traffic accidents in European countries. In December 2017, a train crashed into a school bus at a level crossing in Millas in southeastern France. Co-funded by the government of the French Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, Aguila Technologies, ATOS, GeoSat and Labri, Thales’ STARC solution is projected to avoid such tragedy from happening ever again and effectively improve the safety of level crossings by appling innovative technology that has no impact on the existing transportation system.
Thales has an extensive portfolio of ground transportation solutions, including signalling systems, supervision and communications systems, Revenue collection systems, etc. In the STARC project, the Thales China team is mainly responsible for providing solutions for systems monitoring and bus positioning for level crossings. Benefited from the advanced AI ecosystem in China, Thales China has applied leading technologies including image object detection algorithms based on deep learning, deterministic (Non-AI) LiDAR object detection algorithms, HDMAP, and bus autonomous positioning based on GNSS and HDMAP ported from railway applications, which can better satisfy higher requirements for the safety of level crossings in France and even Europe.
In addition, this innovative solution using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware are completely stand-alone systems without interfering with the existing level crossing system and the railway signaling system, which means that it will not make any changes to the existing system and therefore have lower cost with easy deployment.
"We are honored to be awarded the Innovative Product through our joint efforts across teams in both China and France. This achievement reflects Thales’ integrated capabilities drawing on local innovation and global teams cooperation. Meanwhile, thanks to the advanced AI ecosystem and a favorable innovation environment in China, Thales has been able to apply the local capabilities to European countries. In the future, we look forward to more development on R&D team work to continuously contribute to the innovation cooperation between China and France." Jerôme Bendell, Vice President of Thales North Asia and CEO of Thales in China.