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Transportation computer

EN 50155-certified and customizable

Kontron (Germany) has launched Trace, a series of operational computers designed specifically for the transportation market. The transportation computer family delivers rugged building blocks that allow flexible design.

The operational computer offers additional interfaces, among them CANopen (Photo: Kontron)

THE FIRST PLATFORM IN THE SERIES IS the B304-TR, which is an EN 50155-certified fan-less transportation computer designed to make customization possible. The series is based on the company’s COM Express Computer-on-Module (COM) that features the Intel Atom E3845 processor with up to quad core 1,91 GHz performance. Its rugged design ensures stable operation in harsh environments and is suitable for rolling stock applications such as passenger information systems, video streaming and storage servers, security surveillance and train management systems.

The product line features high performance density and low power consumption in a small footprint and low profile design that offers integrators flexibility in terms of the number of available I/Os. The family also provides long-term support by design based on its modularity and seamless technology insertion of the processor, storage, I/O and power supply unit.

All Trace transportation computing platforms integrate health management tools and an Power-on Built-in Test (PBIT) solution which provides a modular and scalable set of uniform test routines to assess the health status and configuration of the complete system. This enables operators to permanently monitor and report the status of the application thanks to dedicated health management resources in the computer independent from the main CPU. The result is enhanced security along with improved diagnostics and maintenance. For example, the family of computers is suited for fleet management of a large number of units in the field. Its health management tools enable operators to monitor the entire fleet to better manage and anticipate maintenance, reduce turn-around times, and increase the overall availability of the units.

The product roadmap for the family is planned to expand with additional platforms featuring a train control and management system configuration that provides direct access to a multi-vehicle bus (MVB) interface on the front plate. Based on the international IEC 61375 Train Communication Network (TCN) standard, Kontron’s future platforms will enable equipment using an MVB to be directly managed and monitored. A future “gateway” version that delivers Wi-Fi connectivity for passenger infotainment applications as well as support for alternative vehicle networks such as CAN and CANopen are also planned. In addition, the company intends to roll out a modular, ruggedized in-vehicle solution in accordance with the in-vehicle 8 VDC to 36 VDC voltage range.

The B304-TR in detail
Based on its upgradeable COM Express COM that integrates the Intel Atom E3845 processor with up to quad core 1,91 GHz performance, the fan-less transportation computer is designed with a power supply from 24 VDC to 110 VDC and -40 °C to +70 °C (Class Tx) temperature range operation. Its front plate is dedicated to operational connectors with certified I/Os according to the EN 50155 standard that includes Ethernet, USB, serial ports, audio, digital inputs and outputs. The rear plate hosts maintenance connectors that also make room for a customization plate or “partner” plate to allow for additional application-specific connectors for the routing of non-provided Mini PCI-Express cards and I/O signals such as GSM/GPRS/3G/LTE/4G, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MVB, CAN Layer 2, and CANopen. The design gives developers the ability to set up their own configuration. Moreover, the computer offers dual SIM support, provides an SSD tray for an optional extractible SSD, and supports Linux operating systems.

“The dependency on electronics has grown with each generation of embedded transportation system. With our extensive and proven history of successful embedded computing deployments, Kontron understands the need to provide technology that enables continued advancements, expansion and long-term value,” explained Robert Negre, Transportation Business Line Manager. “That is why we designed the Kontron Trace to specifically provide transportation system designers with a highly flexible COTS-based solution that efficiently combines standard and custom elements. Our innovative features offer a streamlined solution that brings railway-specific functionalities and design value to the core to dramatically reduce OEM time-to-market and meet cost of ownership goals.” The first samples of the family will be available in July 2014 and can be ordered now. Full production is scheduled for Q3 2014.

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