Rail is a fundamental service for modern societies and the backbone of a sustainable transport system, capable of serving the growing demand of both passenger and freight. To meet the numerous challenges ahead (demographic development, climate change, etc.) the global rail sector must increasingly rely on the emerging disruptive technologies such as advanced robotics, 3-D printing, high computing power and connectivity, etc., which are integrated with analytical and cognitive technologies that enable machine-to-machine (M2M) and machine-to-human (M2H) communication. In addition, comes the pressure to reduce energy consumption, pollution and the consumption of other resources. Therefore, mastering the breakthrough developments of new technologies is of capital importance for the railway industry to deliver smart and efficient solutions that improve safety, security, punctuality, availability, accessibility, seamless operation, capacity, connectivity, sustainability and other performances, while remaining economically affordable for everybody in countries all around the world. Indeed, essential to the growth of the rail industry is the reduction of the overall life cycle exploitation costs of all rail sub-systems, the minimisation of the effects of obsolescence and the effective migration of emerging technological innovation.
Among the new technologies, the present project focuses on the following ones, which are particularly relevant for train traction systems: