On Wednesday October 25, Bombardier Transportation, together with its partners the software SME Prosyst and France’s University of Valenciennes and Hainaut- Cambrésis (UVHC), inaugurated SurferLab, the rail industry’s joint research and development lab.
On Wednesday October 25, Bombardier Transportation, together with its partners the software SME Prosyst and France’s University of Valenciennes and Hainaut- Cambrésis (UVHC), inaugurated SurferLab, the rail industry’s joint research and development lab. The first of its kind in France and in the transport sector, Surferlab will focus on leveraging the innovative and competitive nature of its stakeholders to strengthen ties between research and industry. The lab is based at the University of Valenciennes.
Laurent Bouyer, President, Bombardier Transportation France said, “Digital innovation is at the core of our future strategy, and integrating these innovations into our products is an essential step to meeting the next generation of mobility needs for both passenger and operator.”
During the inauguration, two demonstrations of projects in progress were presented.
Using augmented reality, an intelligent train can show the operator the health of its different equipment. Soon, maintenance staff will be able to simply use a tablet to read diagnostics as they walk along the train – easily identifying any sources of potential breakdowns or weakness as well as access the vehicle’s maintenance manual, carry out corrective actions and conduct tests to ensure the equipment is working properly.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, the train will also be able to anticipate breakdowns and transmit its diagnostics to the fleet supervisor. The fleet supervisor can then communicate directly with the train and organise maintenance using voice recognition software.
Backed by over 2 million euro in funding, SurferLab is dedicated to making transportation safer and smarter by researching innovative industrial solutions in the field of embedded digital technologies particularly in the area of maintenance. The joint lab will focus on three core research themes: connected preventative maintence, artificial intelligence learning as well as product lifecycle design as it relates to sustainable development.
Immediate research is already exploring the feasibility of an augmented vehicle, a connected and automated transport system capable of anticipating and reporting technical issues within the vehicle.
With the goal of anticipating the next revolution in the transportation field, SurferLab is also an open structure. Available to anyone working in the transportation field, the lab’s work will involve creating embedded systems based on artificial intelligence, for example systems that optimize various driving, monitoring and / or diagnostic functions currently in use on trains or aircraft.
SurferLab relies on several existing patents coming from previous collaboration between its founding members. In France’s, Hauts-de-France region, SurferLab is already a unique tool in the transportation field. It is co-financed by both the Hauts-de-France region and the European Union Regional Development Fund. SurferLab is labeled by the i-Trans cluster and is supported scientifically by the CNRS, and hosted by the Laboratory of Industrial and Human Automation control, Mechanical engineering and Computer Science (LAMIH UMR CNRS 8201) at UVHC.