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Siemens launches digital rail business in the US

Siemens to partner with Atlanta on operational insights for downtown streetcar and Charlotte on pilot programme for prescriptive maintenance

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Virtual impression of Atlanta's downtown streetcar by Siemens
Virtual impression of Atlanta's downtown streetcar by Siemens

Siemens is introducing a digital rail service business in the US with the aim of creating an “Internet of Trains” to bring infrastructure and vehicles into the digital era.


The new business will use intelligent sensors and advanced software platforms to put “intelligence” behind billions of data points created on the country’s rail systems.


This insight will help rail operators across the US to reduce unplanned downtime, improve operational efficiency and enable improved business planning and performance, the company said.


Siemens will establish its digital services hub in Atlanta, Georgia which will be home to the Data Analytics and Applications Center on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus.


A new east coast locomotive service headquarters will also be opened in New Castle, Delaware this summer.


The City of Atlanta and Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) will be among the first transportation providers to lead the way in putting big data to use from its existing fleet to improve operations and safety.


In Atlanta, the Siemens digital services team will collect information captured via on-board systems from the Siemens-built Atlanta Streetcar and analyse data points to make the best use of its fleet.


This could range from: slow vehicle movements to identify traffic bottlenecks in order to reduce delays; identifying track segments and time periods with high energy consumption to reduce power usage; length of door opening durations to improve passenger comfort; horn usage from car or pedestrian traffic warnings to determine possible car or pedestrian infrastructure improvements that would increase safety.


“Today, rail vehicles send between one and four billion data points per year and rail infrastructure can send billions of messages just inside a specific system,” said Simon Davidoff, head of Siemens mobility digital services in North America.


“With our digital services business, we’re taking not only experience from our global rail footprint but also our extensive company-wide digital expertise to turn billions of data points into action, including the ability to detect malfunctions well before they can cause problems and information that helps improve arrival times and punctuality for riders.”


The digital services offered for the rail industry are based on Railigent, a cloud-based industrial data analytics platform connected to Mindsphere, Siemens IoT operating system.


The platform features ‘smart monitoring’ for real-time insight on vehicle state and location, ‘smart data analytics’ that provide root cause analysis and remote vehicle and infrastructure diagnostics, and ‘smart prediction’ that conducts prescriptive maintenance. Additional capabilities will include advanced cyber security and guidance services.


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