posted on 30th May 2021 14:55
On 18 May 2021, Deutsche Bahn and Stadler announced that they had signed a cooperation agreement to develop a virtual train, specifically of the Class 429.1 FLIRT EMUs that run on the SÜWEX network in southwest Germany. This will be the first time that DB will use such 'digital twins', where data from the real vehicle is processed in real time.
The virtual image will initially focus on the air conditioning, entrance doors and wheelsets, as shown in the illustration. The data collected will be processed by artificial intelligence to simulate the vehicle's functions. This will take into account not only the mechanical and electrical parts or software of the vehicle, but also its actual physical behaviour.
The first FLIRT is currently being equipped with the technology for recording and transmitting data and its digital twin should be fully operational by the end of 2021. Once the entire system has been proven, DB and Stadler will then introduce more virtual FLIRTs „in operation“, simultaneously expanding the range of functions and components to be monitored.
Jure Mikolčić, Stadler Deutschland Managing Director, added: „By creating a digital twin, DB and we as a vehicle manufacturer gain relevant data material. This enables us to ensure predictive maintenance as well as the continuous optimisation of the technical condition of the vehicles, which helps both parties to continuously improve their availability and reduce train failures to a minimum.“
In regional transport, the SÜWEX (SüdWest Express) network covers the centres in Rheinland-Pfalz, Hessen, parts of Baden-Württemberg and Saarland (the area is roughly defined by the cities of Mainz, Koblenz, Trier, Kaiserslautern, Ludwigshafen, Saarbrücken, Mannheim, Frankfurt and Karlsruhe). DB has been operating a fleet of 28 Class 429.1 EMUs here since December 2014.