CORDIS - EU research results

Automatic Rail Safety Solution

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SDO-MET (Automatic Rail Safety Solution)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-07-31

By 2025 1800km of rail lines will be automated worldwide. With the increase in automatic train operation comes the need to create an innovative platform and track protection system to ensure the security of passengers while maintaining increased efficiency in public transport. According to the European Railway Agency in 2012 there were a total of 5122 railway incidents involving people across Europe of which 1016 were serious injuries, 1133 were deaths and 2973 were suicides. The combined costs of fatalities and serious injuries cost the EU more than 1.5 billion euros in 2012.
SDO-MET (Metro Object Detection System) is an innovative technology that aims at helping usher in the next era in automated public transport. Our platform and track security system provides a safer, lower cost, and easier to install alternative to current systems. Using an innovative system of sensors and cameras our goal is to make metro platforms and track areas safe and efficient for users and operators of automated and non-automated trains. Our goals for phase 2 are to further develop and refine SDO-MET in order to have a market ready product. Our main focus, on a technical level, will be the implementation of the State-of-the-Art visual systems necessary for SDO-MET in a train station in Barcelona.
The potential customers are the main operators of the railway sector such as Barcelona Metropolitan Transport, Metro de Madrid and Brussels Metro with whom we currently have trade relations. There are global regions like the Middle East, LatinAmerica and Asia which are heavily investing in new urban rail lines. Other potential customers include project engineers and manufacturers / distributors of railway equipment such as SIEMENS, BOMBARDIERS, THALES, etc. During the development of our first prototype over the past 5 years we have developed a business plan and commercialization strategy. These and other feasibility activities, along with the willingness to pay already expressed by our collaborators, makes us confident that SDO-MET has market scalability and will be successful on a global scale. The potential worldwide market is for SDO-MET is 497 metro lines (452.7 B €).
On the last 12 months, Promaut has made a big progress in developing safer and better technology. Promaut has done several steps in developing the technology and also developing business plan for innovation.
• A collaboration agreement has been signed with a big railway operator in Barcelona area. This collaboration agreement allows us to install the technology in a problematic station and test our system.
• The SDOMET technology has improved and now is more reliable. We are able to discriminate the objects in a tracks between, persons, potentially dangerous objects or not dangerous objects.
• We have begun the development of a system to monitor platforms activity in order to detect potential abnormal situations. More precisely, dangerous situations that might cause people to fall into the tracks.
• Communication and Commercialisation strategy has been defined. We have developed a business plan, and a communication plan, and began its activities.
• We have begun our collaboration with a SME Business Coach that has introduced the project to the German market and have done several contact with European operators.
• We have received different expressions of interest from the railway industry, and have scheduled a number of meetings with key stakeholders.

Based on the current state of development of the project, technically and from the market point of view, we are on the good direction to accomplish the general objective and be able to provide a safer, lower cost, and easier to install alternative technology to current metro safety and security systems.
Progress beyond the state-of-the-art

SDOMET is developing fully adaptable system for the monitoring of all the station areas (tracks and platform). The system is composed by a combination of sensors, radar, thermal and artificial vision which together constitute a breakthrough in the State-of-the-art technologies for safety and automation in the railway industry.
Current detection systems are able to confirm the presence of an object in a specific area, but they are not able to discriminate and categorize the object as dangerous, not dangerous, people or their behaviour. We have identified several similar tests performed in Munich and Copenhagen that have compared LIDAR, Radar and Vision technologies with non-satisfying results.
SDOMET will be able to determine any potential hazardous situation and inform the train, the station and/or the control unit in the operator headquarters, according to the customer needs and specifications. We have developed the software for discrimination of the object in the tracks by different state-of-the-art methodologies like Motion Detection and Deep Neural networks (Deep Convolutional Neural networks and Support Vector Machines Classification). So the system is trained by real situations and learns and improves its database as time goes on.
SDOMET will be the first bottom-to-top platform, covering from the sensors installed in the tracks and stations to the backbone of operation system in the headquarters of the operator. We can connect the system with ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) signalling systems, if it is necessary, in order to control the train operation.

Expected potential impact

SDOMET has the potential to increase hugely the safety level of any railway (new or existing). The technology can reduce 40% of the accidents that may occur in the railway stations. The economic cost of each accident is very big, stopping a complete line, moreover, the personal costs of the accidents, more than 5.000 in Europe annually, is enormous.
The system can also be implemented in all types of stations, unlike the main competitor, Platform Screen Doors, and its costs are a 70% lower. So the user benefits are huge, and the potential impact on the railway industry can increase the mobility while reducing the railway service interruptions.
Captured thermal image
Train in La Floresta station, where SDOMET is being installed