A collaboration between the 5G Hub at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven and the FieldLab Rail at Dual Inventive in Oisterwijk can boost wireless innovations around railroad tracks throughout Europe. Ericsson and VodafoneZiggo are also involved in the collaboration. The aim is to deploy wireless 5G technology to safely maximize available rail capacity without requiring physical expansions to the rail infrastructure.
In this European Year of Rail, the EU is paying extra attention to cross-border initiatives that bring the creation of the Single European Railway Area closer. The European Commission wants to speed up the digitalization of the railroads and sees 5G as one of the solutions to optimize the railroad capacity. 5G Hub and Dual Inventive want to respond to these initiatives.
“The great thing about mobile technology is that you can implement it very easily”, says CTO Lex van der Poel of Dual Inventive. “You don’t have to dig expensive cables because 5G is like fiber optic through the air. 5G paves the way for wireless switches and wireless signals, which we are also developing as a proof of concept within the 5G Hub to encourage our partners in the rail market to use these possibilities.” In addition to wireless object controllers for the track, a Track & Machine Warning System that uses the 5G network is one of the cases Dual Inventive will be rolling out. By detecting and warning of approaching train traffic, track workers can also work safely during the day. The speed and stability of 5G give this development an acceleration.
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Part of the partnership is also a data link for digital communication between the lab in the 5G Hub at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven and Dual Inventive’s FieldLab Rail in Oisterwijk. The FieldLab Rail is an indoor environment equipped with various rail systems, such as catenary, signals, relay protection, and a train protection system for tests with the latest rail innovations. The connection between both environments makes it possible to control railroad systems in Oisterwijk from the 5G Hub in real-time using 5G technology. This makes this test environment very suitable for developing new proof of concepts to improve the European rail system.
Dual Inventive operates internationally but now chooses to focus its development primarily on the Netherlands. The Netherlands is in the global top 5 when it comes to the rollout and application of 5G.
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