Blueprint for the future

How will our digital plan for rail help your business?

Thales is harnessing the power of digital technologies to create new products, new services and new sources of value for customers, as Marc Duflot, Vice President of Business Development, explains.

"Demand for rail travel is growing and passenger numbers are rising. Our customers are under pressure to meet new passenger expectations. Passengers want, and deserve, a first-class travel experience.

We also know that there are big changes taking place in the competitive landscape. Our customers already face competition from low-cost airlines and bus operators. The rise of connected and autonomous cars will only accelerate these pressures.

To stay competitive, rail operators need to transform their businesses. Digital technologies hold the key to this transformation: these technologies will revolutionise rail operations, just as they have revolutionised sectors such as banking, retail and energy. 

Our ambition is to be the industry’s expert partner as it starts its digital transition.  

To achieve this ambition, we’re using the power of digital technologies to create new products, new services and new sources of value for our customers. And we’re mobilising everyone to achieve this: from signal engineers to data scientists and cybersecurity experts, Thales is dedicated to delivering the digital railway. 

We focus on 6 priorities:

Smart infrastructure

To make rail networks smart, we’re using the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor every infrastructure asset. An example is Lite4ce™, our new fibre optic axle counter. This not only detects trains, but can also provide data about how many passengers are in each carriage.  

Autonomous trains

Trains will be equipped with “eyes” and a “brain” building on Thales’ expertise in radar, lidar, cameras, satellite and inertial measurement systems. Our expertise here is unique in the market. We’re already testing new autonomous capabilities in Canada, Germany and the United States. 

For metros, it means huge savings in trackside infrastructure and rapid recovery in degraded situations. For main lines, it paves the way to driverless trains. We are tapping into the full resources of the Thales Group to make autonomous operations a reality.

Data-driven OCCs

To get the most out of their autonomous trains and smart infrastructure, our customers need data-driven Operation Control Centres (OCCs). With the introduction of our Digital Platform –– we are using big data tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics to transform OCCs, with decision aids to improve passenger safety. The new generation of our traffic management system, ARAMIS, is the first major application to be linked to the Digital Platform. 

Connected journeys

Next, we focus on passengers. They need – and expect – connected journeys. Our Mobility Platform will deliver a breakthrough in personalised, multi-modal information for passengers. The Mobility Platform will also provide our customers with unprecedented insights into the way their networks are used.

Digital services

We now have a unique opportunity to use data to create new digital services – and new sources of value – for our customers. Naia provides passenger flow analytics, and TIRIS is our big data solution for maintenance. An increasing number of our digital applications will be delivered “as-a-service”. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for our customers to benefit from the latest applications, without the need for capital expenditure.

Cybersecurity

There is no digitalisation without cybersecurity. We ensure that our customers’ critical systems, IoT devices and data are all Cybersecured by Design. And we are committed to taking advantage of new capabilities, such as artificial intelligence and analytics for security monitoring. In a digital world, cybersecurity underpins everything we do and it is a differentiator for us.

Our Plan for rail digitalisation underlines our commitment to providing technological leadership. But equally important, it is also about understanding the needs of our customers and working alongside operators and infrastructure owners as you begin your digital transformation.”