Achieving net zero emissions is the holy grail of the transport sector and rail transport is one of the great hopes in this process. This is so because it is the only means of transport that has significantly reduced its emissions since 1990 and because it continues to make a considerable effort to advance in this direction. Naturally, improvements in environmental protection will not be at the cost of comfort or the passenger’s experience.
Thales, as an innovative company committed to the wellbeing of the planet, has developed a driver assistance system (DAS) called GreenSpeed. The system – presented to the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda to implement the E.U. NEXT Generation package of community funds – will help to achieve total decarbonization of the transport sector by the year 2030. And will do so without losing sight of the following goals: comfort, punctuality, reliability and minimum energy consumption.
The key to achieving all this lies in constant optimisation of the speed of the train to eliminate the variability caused by sudden speed reductions, stops or accelerations in order to arrive at stations, connection points or intersections at exactly the right time. This means that the time slots will always be respected with less CO2 emissions.The algorithm and artificial intelligence are responsible for this optimisation. Kai Taylor, Marketing and Communication Manager for conventional and high-speed rail lines at Thales, explains it like this:
“With DAS connectivity, information sources can harness artificial intelligence algorithms. This means that the system can inform the driver of the optimum speed to comply with the schedule, thus ensuring a comfortable ride. It also minimises energy consumption and prevents wear and tear on the machinery by avoiding unnecessary use of the brakes and engine. The driver becomes an even greater expert while reducing stress levels and increasing comfort, all of which adds up to greater efficiency. Since the algorithm is run inside the train it reacts to the driver’s actions or the updates received from the data centre and recalculates the schedule instantaneously in real time. Another advantage of GreenSpeed is that it works independently of the platform, which enables it to be implemented on various devices including tablets and dedicated or shared screens on both passenger and freight routes”.
Created by Cubris, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thales, GreenSpeed has been operating since 2012 across the entire Danish rail fleet and has significantly improved punctuality and reduced traction power consumption. Since then it has been adopted in various markets and undoubtedly constitutes a magnificent option for Spanish rail operators.