Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on solutions for the railway industry. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we decided to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 4 promising automatic train control solutions.
Heat Map: 4 Top Automatic Train Control Solutions
For our 4 top picks, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 4 interesting examples out of 78 relevant solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
ZTR Control Systems – Control Systems & Tractive Effort
The first trains that were pulled along a guided and unaltering route were run by the Greeks of 6th century BC, who used a combination of man and animals to haul heavy objects over almost 8km. Almost 2 millennia later, the first trains to run on steam and metal rails were commercialized. Railway technology is expected to last for almost a generation as it involves expensive and extensive networks of electrical equipment, connected all across the rail tracks. In such an environment, innovation is not always driven by new companies, but by players who have been in the industry for a long time.
Canadian rail company ZTR Control Systems has been developing rail technologies for more than 30 years. They currently develop their microprocessor-based locomotive control system, NEXSYS III-i, that enables increased locomotive adhesion, advanced control options, and integrated Automatic Engine Start-Stop (AESS) technology that can significantly extend the life of existing locomotive, whether it is being rebuilt or upgraded.
Alta Rail Technology – Enhanced Train Control
Controlling trains involves more than having control of the locomotive. Accidents are caused by so many factors that rail operators need to have control over all aspects of railways including tracks, signaling, locomotive speed, maintenance work, and the management of all these processes. Connecting these various aspects of railway management and delivering safer, more efficient train operations are increasingly seen as important, as more countries around the world continue to build rail tracks at a rapid pace.
The Brazillian company Alta Rail Technology offers almost the complete set of railway management solutions. Their Enhanced Train Control (ETC) solution combines onboard technology and control center software to provide railroads with a complete traffic control solution for both signaled and dark territory environments. The solution relies on a communication infrastructure (Satellite, Radio, GPRS, 3G) that digitally transmits Train Movement Authority Information to the train.
OptiRail – Smart Automatic Train Operations
Train operators spend a lot of money on fuel. With growing populations and the expansion of the rapid rail transport systems for cities, the costs of fuel are simply too high for conducting efficient operations. Not all routes, stations, and regions are used uniformly and have different degrees of wear and tear. Startups are using innovative technologies to optimize train operations and reduce fuel consumption.
British startup OptiRail develops the Smart Automatic Train Operations (SATO) platform to optimize train operations based on exact current train and external conditions, rather than relying on averages and estimates. Their patent-pending EAD-tech technology allows for determining the actual characteristics of the train and external conditions while the train is in motion, using existing information from the digital locomotive network.
SIL4 Systems – Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC)
City and population growth increases the need for mass transit and signaling systems to evolve and adapt to meet this increase in demand and traffic capacity. Operators are now focused on maximizing train line capacity, in as safe a manner as possible. The main objective of CBTC is to increase capacity by safely reducing the time interval between trains traveling along the line.
The US-based company SIL4 Systems develops onboard embedded control systems for enabling automatic train protection (ATP) and automatic train control (ATC). They offer a dual-purpose platform that houses an event recorder as well as allows for ATP and ATC. Further, they offer a range of vehicle communications such as dual WiFi, GPS, 3G, and dual Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports.
What About The Other 74 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence for your Proof of Concept (PoC), partnership, or investment targets. The 4 startups showcased above are promising examples out of 78 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria and collaboration strategy, get in touch.