Digital technology is transforming the rail industry, streamlining operations and creating an attractive environment for passengers. But the journey is just beginning. The coming years will see fundamental changes in the way rail networks function and in the services that can be offered.
Driving the need for change are fundamental shifts in the competitive landscape. Railways will need to accommodate more passenger and freight traffic if net-zero emissions are to be achieved. Meanwhile, passenger behaviour and expectations are changing.
To improve mobility and reduce costs, the industry is looking to innovative digital services to optimise performance, increase energy efficiency and boost the attractiveness of rail.
At Thales, innovation is part of our DNA. Open innovation, co-innovation with customers and collaboration with startups are the cornerstones of our strategy. This demands a combination of agility, the resources of a large company and the collaborative intelligence of top researchers. We offer all of this.
What is Thales doing?
Here are three examples of customer-focused innovation that our R&D teams are currently working on:
Thales pioneered automatic trains more than 30 years ago. Now we’re pioneering autonomous ones. A train equipped with autonomous technology knows where it is and can interpret its environment. The beauty of autonomy is that it can be used to manage many different use cases – paving the way to intelligent, green and connected public transport for the future.
A digital twin is a model that recreates a real-world object or system in digital form. What makes digital twins so valuable is that they not only help you to understand what’s happening in the real world, but also to carry out experiments and explore “what if” scenarios. At Thales, our R&D teams are using digital twin technology to fine-tune the next generation of transport solutions.
Teleworking for railways
Remote working has become a fact of life in many industries since the onset of Covid. Freedom to work anywhere contributes to resilience – and thanks to remote working, many organisations have remained profitable throughout the pandemic. But on railways, teleworking must be carefully managed to ensure that critical functions are not compromised. To meet this need, we have developed remote working solutions delivered over an encrypted network with secure two-factor authentication, so staff can work anywhere – on the platform, on the move and even from home.
Innovations like these hold the key to delivering tomorrow’s resilient, high-performance railways. And they underline the way Thales is helping to build a future we can all trust.
Innovation for Railway, an interview with Amaury Jourdan - Vice-President Chief Technical Officer