AI might be the future of trains

Berlin will use artificial intelligence in its new rail system

Berlin will use artificial intelligence in its new rail system

Siemensstadt is one step closer to its new digital and automated rail system

The state of Berlin is funding the development of new digital railways as another component to the large-scale project Siemensstadt². Funding for the research “Berlin Digital Railway Operations” (BerDiBa) was approved on 2 June and the project will implement new technologies for automated trains, as well as artificial intelligence to detect obstacles and monitor changes in rail infrastructure. BerDiBa will cost 13.7 million euros and around half of that will be subsidized through the ProFIT program.

An integrated district of the future

Siemensstadt² is a project for redeveloping Berlin’s district of Spandau, and run by Siemens. The neighbourhood is called Siemensstadt and was built by Siemens & Halske the predecessor of today’s company back in 1897. Now the enterprise claims it will create an open urban district of the future that combines work, research and life.

By 2030 they will integrate a slew of new technologies in the urban environment, having an area of over 70 hectares to tinker with. Currently, this is the company's biggest project.

The trainline in Siemensstadt has been overtaken by nature, Source: Siemensstadt, Siemens 

At the same time, the digital rail system will be built on the currently derelict Siemensbahn S-Bahn line. This is a 4.5-kilometre track, closed down in the 1980s, which was supposed to connect the district with the centre of Berlin.

Now they are reviving it and it will become an integral part of the research project. For four years, the track will provide “Berlin Digital Railway Operations” with real operational conditions, where they can test the automated train system.

The digital clones of trains

The project will build a digital clone (twin) train that will use data about the condition of a real one, both on the interior and exterior, as well as the environment and infrastructure conditions. These trains will be paired as the automation systems are tested in a controlled environment. Data will be collected through an amalgamation of archived and real-time data from various sensor systems on the tracks and vehicles.

The trains of the future are very near, Source: Siemensstadt Siemens

The research will allow for better decisions on how to implement digital, fully automated real-time control of rail operations in the future.

Senator for Economic Affairs Ramona Pop was quoted in a press release, saying: “Automation and networking are central for the traffic and mobility turnaround. Digitization is the key to sustainable and environmentally friendly transport of people and goods by rail.”

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