• Train station and train driver

    High performance digital driver advisory system

BY: Lynda Haig Thoresen | Marketing, Communication & Sustainability Manager

Sustainable driver advisory system

Sustainable driver advisory system: We are currently undertaking a mid-life upgrade on the driver advisory system that we developed with and for the Danish National Railway (DSB)

The upgrade to the sustainable Driver Advisory System involves a new Data Delivery System (DLS) and related components to be integrated in existing and new trains.

The driver advisory system assists train drivers in arriving on time to lowest possible energy consumption and CO2 emissions. It is a digital driver guide – or rather a train drivers assistant – which visually informs the train driver about the timetable and the optimal speed to reach the next destination on time. This makes it no longer necessary to pursue a destination full throttle – as the system fine tunes the driving pattern according to the train’s current location and tracks conditions ahead.

The system has proven results in a fleet wide implementation in a mixed environment of passenger and freight by many operators.

Reducing speed provides huge energy savings

As a rule of thumb, one can say that energy consumption rises somewhere between exponential and linear on the changed speed, depending on the acceleration and how fast it goes. Trains are subject to the same requirements as other means of transport. If the speed limits on the main lines can be reduced from 180 km / h to let say 160 km / h, with less breakings and accelerations – provided the driver can comply with the timetable – there are huge energy saving in the lightly reduced speed. The electronic drivers guide provides a tremendously large annual energy saving – in fact a whopping 35 million a year.

In addition to easing pressure on the drivers, the electronic drivers guide provides a tremendously large annual energy saving – in fact a whopping 35 million a year.

Relieves driver stress and increases punctuality for passengers

The driver advisory system is developed to first and foremost to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

However, as drivers were constantly feeling stressed about having to reach destinations at certain times. Having to wait for outside delays, having unexpected stops at stations and platforms or in front of signals, can become disproportionately prolonged. When drivers are informed of the optimal meeting time, they can adjust the speed to it.

The system also has a passenger advantage. If the driver is pre oriented on timetable changes, the passengers are also updated early. This can help eliminate the uncertainty about arrival times, which is a major frustration point for train passengers. Providing passengers with a smoother ride with fewer accelerations and braking, as well as contributing to an improved fuel or energy economy, is a win-win situation.

A green and sustainable initiative

– In addition to their ambition of complying to timetables, DSB wanted to establish a green profile. DSB also wanted the solution to be financially sound which demanded cost reductions on many fronts. The driver advisory system ​​is just one of the initiatives, but it is an excellent concept.

Driver Advisory System: Figure showing the location and basic function of the system modules in the train compartments

Driver Advisory System: Figure showing the location and basic function of the system modules in the train compartments

Intelligent and interactive system

The Driver Advisory System ​​resembles GPS for drivers with the small difference that this system is both intelligent and interactive. Roadblock obstacles and changes to the timetable are received via a 4G/5G and Wi-Fi and is processed by the computer, thus, allowing the system to constantly adjust the optimum speed to the actual conditions. At each train driver’s seat there is a computer where the data is presented to the driver via an intuitive and clear graphical interface.

Case deliveries

– The solution we have developed with and for DSB is based on a graphical readout. The drivers can see in clear and unique images the speed they should keep to uphold the timetable.

We have delivered all hardware incl. DLS, Driver PC and Screen cables etc. All type approved according to Rolling stock standards. Further we have developed the Linux OS, various firmware, connectivity management and other software components.

The computer receives input from GPS, WWAN and Wi-Fi as well as sensors input from the train’s computer. A Linux-based Operation System with a comprehensive custom firmware and software processes the inputs and delivers the data to the driver computer. Based on the accumulated information, the driver computer application calculates the optimum speed and presents it to the train driver.

The system is certified by Data Respons Solutions according to EN50155, EN50121-3-2, EN61373, CEN/TS45545-x, as well as underlying certifications.

We have also delivered a spin-off to Southwest Rail in the UK.

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