The latest generation of our world-leading driverless train control solution opens up new possibilities for metro operators.
Alcino De Sousa, Vice-president Urban Rail Signalling at Thales Transport, explains.
First of all, what is SelTrac™?
Thales’ SelTrac™ is a digital signalling solution that helps metro operators to run more trains on their networks. The technology behind this is called Communications Based Train Control, or CBTC. SelTrac is natively driverless, but it can still be used with an attendant or driver.
What’s new in SelTrac™ G8?
There are three important new features in SelTrac™ G8. The first is a new digital architecture. This is based on common hardware platforms and is designed to be upgraded easily, including our new object controller or Remote IO to reduce the amount of wayside equipment required. Secondly, we have our suite of enhanced services, to support operators to achieve maximum availability. Thirdly, and last but not least, SelTrac™G8 is autonomy ready.
How will customers benefit?
The beauty of SelTrac™ G8 is that it is permanently upgradeable. New functions can be added easily just by upgrading the software. We call this innovation insertion. SelTrac™ G8 also features advanced diagnostic and health monitoring tools, easing maintenance and boosting reliability. In addition to this, our customers benefit from a significant reduction in wayside equipment, so installation and maintenance costs are lower.
What about the Zone Controller?
Our upgraded Zone Controller provides a number of different deployment and redundancy options. It is based upon the same proven hardware platform that may also be deployed as a standalone interlocking or as a subsytem in a legacy SelTrac system, depending on the installed software.
Can I take advantage of new communications, like LTE and 5G?
Yes. SelTrac™ G8 can support almost any type of radio communications, including LTE. Thanks to our new onboard communications gateway, you can switch between multiple radio technologies, so your train always stays connected. This new modular communication approach also supports a clear migration path to 5G.
What does “autonomy ready” mean?
We’ve developed a brand new autonomous positioning system in parallel with SelTrac™ G8. This uses inertial navigation, radar and radio ranging – the same technology stack that will be used in fully-autonomous operation. It’s remarkably easy to deploy. In fact, the onboard equipment can be installed in a few days. We have already piloted this on the New York City Subway.
How is cybersecurity managed?
Like all our solutions, SelTrac™ G8 is Cybersecured by Design. Innovation insertion makes security upgrades easier than ever. As we start to take advantage of new communications technologies, such as 5G, the focus on cybersecurity will become even more important.
Who can benefit from SelTrac™ G8?
We’ve designed SelTrac™ G8 to meet the needs of all our customers. It can be used on urban rail, metro, light rail and people movers. And it can be deployed in both brownfield (resignaling lines) and greenfield (new lines) projects. Finally, customers with earlier versions of SelTrac™ can also benefit, because the G8 platform can be provided as an upgrade to their existing SelTrac™ systems.