Nokia to Test 5G for German Automated Rail Operation
Thursday, December 12, 2019 | Comments

Nokia won a tender to test and deliver what it called the world’s first stand-alone 5G system for automated rail operation in Hamburg, Germany. The project is part of Deutsche Bahn’s highly automated S-Bahn operation project.

The proof of concept will test whether 5G technology is mature enough to be used as the connectivity layer for future, digitalized rail operations. The project constitutes an early and important step in the development of the Future Railway Mobile Communications System (FRMCS) standard, based on 5G, and sets the stage for the digital transformation of railway operations.

By 2021, as part of the Digitale S-Bahn Hamburg project, highly automated trains with train drivers on board who keep safety responsibility are expected to operate on a 23-kilometer section of the S-Bahn Line 21, starting at Berliner Tor, one of the main transport hubs in Hamburg. Part of the demonstration will include fully driverless shunting of empty trains in an area near Bergedorf station, based on the transmission of train control information over the Nokia 5G mobile network.

The Nokia 5G solution is based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards for 5G mobile networks, allowing highly or fully automated trains to exchange relevant data with trackside equipment by 5G radio. This will have positive effects on cross-border operation, capacity of rail infrastructure, punctuality of trains and customer experience.

Nokia provides GSM-R systems to rail operators in 22 countries, covering 109,000 kilometers of track. The company has provided networking, cybersecurity, internet of things (IoT) and analytics solutions to more than 110 operators for both mainline and metro rail.

“We are very pleased to be Deutsche Bahn’s partner, bringing digital technology to the forefront of the Hamburg S-Bahn network and rail system,” said Kathrin Buvac, president of Nokia Enterprise and chief strategy officer. “Together, we have worked to research, develop and deliver the world’s first 5G-based communications system for automated rail operation, an important milestone towards the FRMCS and a major step in making Industry 4.0 a reality.”

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