With more than 55% of the world’s population living in cities today, and nearly 70% in 2050, urban transport issues are more than ever on the agenda of both governments and local authorities.
Choices made now will determine urban mobility tomorrow. Could the daily life of billions be moving towards a congestion of vehicles? Worst-case scenarios predict 71% of pollution will be due to cars. Or will we reinvent our metros to make them more frequent, safer and cleaner?
The challenge lies ahead of us
Industry’s task is to tackle the new transport revolution, to move towards more efficient, economical and cleaner mobility.
Currently, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) divides metros into "automatic" trains that are still dependent on human control (the most widespread situation today) and "autonomous" trains capable of interacting intelligently with their environment (the trains of tomorrow).
Thales is equipped as the leader in automated trains. An innovator of metro automation for over 30 years, its SelTrack CBTC solution is today implemented in 40 of the world's largest cities, including New York, Shanghai, London, Hong-Kong, Paris, Dubai and Singapore.
Leveraging digital leadership to boost innovation
Thales’ unique expertise in connectivity, cybersecurity, big data and artificial intelligence enables it to combine its leading expertise in automated metros and these four structuring technologies to serve what is much more than a new technological stage, it’s a real revolution in mobility and quality of life in the megacities of the future.
As Ahmed Miske El Hadrami, Technical Director of Urban Rail at Thales summarizes: "What we want at Thales is to go beyond automation. Today, trains are essentially blind, they rely completely on communication with the central system. We want to give the train eyes and a brain."
Equipped with optical sensors and cameras and using big data, artificial intelligence and connectivity technologies, the metros will be autonomous. They’ll be able to locate themselves, detect what is happening in front of them and finally take the decision to move forward or not, safely.
Autonomous trains will optimise the operational efficiency of metro operators by reducing the equipment traditionally installed along tracks, while reducing maintenance costs. Passengers will benefit from increased safety and quality of service.
These new autonomous metros will more than ever constitute the backbone of urban mobility in the large urban areas of the future.