RTI teams with railways and suppliers to advance Platform for future rail operation

9th February 2022
Kiera Sowery

The railway sector in Europe is on the verge of its largest technology leap in history, with many railways aiming to introduce large degrees of automation in rail operation in order to substantially increase the capacity, quality and efficiency of the rail system.

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) brings experience in communications for the rail systems market. RTI Connext, built on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard, enables intelligent information exchange from onboard and remote applications, resulting in an efficient, scalable, and future-proof data processing infrastructure.

Its standards-based data distribution infrastructure can connect thousands of onboard mobile and remote assets, transmitting data from dispersed sources, and aggregating it for real-time analysis and response.  

​​Besides the introduction of enhanced Control Command and Signaling (CCS) approaches, and the introduction of novel technologies such as advanced sensing and artificial intelligence into the rail system, it is also necessary to design the appropriate IT platforms for future rail operation. 

Safe computing platform concept

In this context, the railway initiatives Reference CCS Architecture (RCA) and Open CCS Onboard Reference Architecture (OCORA) started working on a Safe Computing Platform concept in 2020, which is expected to provide the basis for safety-relevant railway applications for both onboard and trackside developments.

A key design paradigm is the introduction of a standardised method for separating applications from the computing platform. This decouples domains with very distinct life cycles and leverages advances in the IT sector, while still leaving room for vendor differentiation on the detailed computing platform implementation. 

To take this work to the next stage, the railways and industry players DB Netz AG, duagon AG, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, RTI, SBB, Siemens Mobility GmbH, SNCF Voyageurs, SNCF Reseau, SYSGO GmbH, Thales and Wind River have now teamed up to jointly develop a first version of the possible Application Programming Interface (API) between railway applications and the Safe Computing Platform. The work is expected to be published in Spring 2022 through RCA and OCORA to serve as a basis for prototyping Safe Computing Platform implementations.

Among its contributions, RTI will focus on a safe and reliable communication architecture and API definition between railway applications and the Safe Computing Platform (SCP). 

“There’s a natural fit in creating a future-proof architecture between DDS and the RCA/OCORA Safe Computing Platform initiative. RTI Connext has pioneered safety-certified, data-centric communications based on the DDS standard across the transportation sector -  automotive, aviation, marine and rail - and we look forward to expanding this work to benefit next-generation railway implementations,” said Mark Hary, Market Development Director, New Markets, RTI.

To learn more, join RTI and SYSGO on 15th March for a webinar and demonstration on modernising rail systems for interoperability, scalability and safety.

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