Customer: ESA (ARTES 5.2)

Duration: September 2017 – November 2019

Partners: Hitachi Rail STS (Coordinator), RADIOLABS, RFI (RETE FERROVIARIA ITALIANA)

SatCom will play a major role in the evolution of the European Railways Train management System (ERTMS) to provide a cost efficient solution for providing an alternative solution to the GSM-R network that is becoming obsolete. Sat4Train is a project focused on the design, development and prototyping of dedicated Multi Link satellite-based Communication Platform (MLCP), as a candidate solution for providing an alternative solution to the standard GSM-R technology adopted by the ERTMS system that is approaching its obsolescence. Sat4Train will exploit innovative features such as the use of multiple public networks (SatCom-cellular) and intelligent routing with cognitive algorithms to allow a ERTMS Quality of Service, suitable for the specific railway application domain without deploying a dedicated telecommunication infrastructure. The project is challenging because this technology is quite new for the ERTMS application and relies for the first time on satellite network. This network has the potential to complement the cellular networks and to provide a cost effective alternative to the GSM-R especially for local and regional railways lines for which the investment and operational costs of the telecom infrastructure represent a barrier to the modernization of the networks since the traffic is not so heavy to justify the investments.

Though Sat4Train is addressing the satellite ground segment, it represents an opportunity to assess the potential role of future satellite and PLMN networks to fulfil the demand of the ERTMS evolution and provide a suitable alternative to GSM-R.