Digitale Schiene Deutschland specifies a Safe Computing Platform for future rail operations with railway operators and industry
The railway sector in Europe is on the verge to its largest technology leap in its history, with many railways aiming at large degrees of automation in rail operation in order to substantially increase the capacity, quality and efficiency of the rail system.
With digitalisation, a large number of new technologies will enter the railway system that place high safety requirements on IT environments. As part of the sector initiative Digitale Schiene Deutschland, DB Netz AG and its partners have launched a cooperation to further move forward on this subject.
Beside the introduction of enhanced Control Command and Signaling (CCS) approaches, and the introduction of novel technologies such as advanced sensing and artificial intelligence into the rail system, it is also necessary to design the appropriate IT platforms for future rail operation. In this context, the railway initiatives Reference CCS Architecture (RCA) [ref] and Open CCS Onboard Reference Architecture (OCORA) [ref] have started working on a Safe Computing Platform concept [ref to White Paper] in 2020, which is expected to provide the basis for safety-relevant railway applications for both onboard and trackside deployments. A key design paradigm is the introduction of a standardized method for separating applications from the computing platform. This decouples domains with very distinct lifecycles and leverages latest advances in the IT sector, while still leaving room for vendor differentiation on the detailed computing platform implementation.
To take this work to the next stage, the railways and industry players DB Netz AG, duagon AG, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Real-Time Innovations (RTI), SBB, Siemens Mobility GmbH, SNCF Voyageurs, SNCF Réseau, SYSGO GmbH, Thales and Wind River have now teamed up to jointly develop a first version of the specification of the possible Application Programming Interface (API) between railway applications and the Safe Computing Platform. The work is expected to be published in Spring 2022 through RCA and OCORA and for instance serve as a basis for prototyping of possible Safe Computing Platform implementations.