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Exact positioning for trains

MEN (Germany) has expanded its family of box PCs. They are an alternative to applications which, until now, have been implemented using industrial PCs. The latest project of Deutsche Bahn (Germany) and MEN uses a box PC for precisely positioning a train.

The system can be equipped with a CAN interface (Photo: MEN)

THE BOX PC CONTROLS ALL FUNCTIONS required for the exact positioning of a train on the railway network of Deutsche Bahn. For this, the box PC, which is equipped with two antennas, receives GPS data sent from several satellites and forwards them to the control center via UMTS, where the position and the current speed are calculated. Due to differentiated GPS, a location accuracy of less than 3 m can be provided, which means that the exact track can be determined. Equipped with an odometer, the system supports dead reckoning functionality, which ensures that the position of a vehicle can be identified, even if the satellite signal is interrupted, for example while driving through a tunnel. The exact positioning down to the track offers crucial advantages regarding track utilization, waiting times and power consumption. This way, a faster train can overtake a slower one between stations without danger, trains can be more quickly coupled in switch-yards using suitable software, or the train speed can be adapted to the landscape.

The box PC is a customer-specific version of the BL50W, which is available as a standard product. It is based on the T48N AMD Embedded G-Series APU, and equipped with four PCI Express Mini Card slots, eight SIM card slots, as well as a GPS interface. Additionally it offers two Display-Ports, two Gigabit Ethernet channels via M12 connectors, two USB 2.0, and five slots for serial I/O or a CAN network, as well as a number of universal inputs and relay outputs. It is designed for fanless operation in the extended operating temperature range of -40 °C to +85 °C, and developed in compliance with EN 50155 for use in railway applications. It also complies with the requirements for E-marking according to ISO 7637-2 for automotive applications. The I/O part and the CPU part are implemented on two separate PCBs inside the box PC. The system can also retroactively be equipped with up to four PCI Express Mini-Cards, each with dual-SIM, different I/O interfaces such as CAN or RS232/RS485/RS422 using SA-Adapters, or an additional hard disk.

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Deutsche Bahn