Precise and integer Localisation and Navigation in Rail and Inlandwater Traffic
Mobility of people and transport of goods are important for a smoothly functioned society. These also significantly affect the quality of living and the competiveness of the economic system. Railway and inland water transportation become more important particularly with regard to current ecological and economical matters.
This project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), focuses on the development of a sensor fusion system (location platform) which can be used for accurate location, navigation and time data determination. The aim of the PiLoNav (Precise and Integer Localization and Navigation in Rail and Inlandwater Traffic) project is to develop and to optimise innovative applications within the area of railway and inland water traffic using operative traffic management systems and advanced driver assistance systems.
Satellite navigation is already used for this area of research. These systems are widely adopted in shipping due to its global availability. However, for some applications the accuracy of location, navigation and time information are not achievable using only satellite navigation systems: e.g. automatic docking of ships, automatic passing through bridges and locking of ships. Most time intensive and safety-critical is the entry of ships into the lock chamber. Entry and stoppage of ships in lock chambers have to be accomplished using only minor correction manoeuvre since ships can easily full-out the locking chamber. This characterises time and fuel efficient ship locking. However, accurate position and orientation data are crucial for optimising this locking procedure. The required position accuracy has not been specified yet. Current studies suggest that position accuracy of 0,1-0,2 meters could be sufficient. When locking ships, height differences of a few meters have to be resolved which can degrade the positioning accuracy through shadowing and multipath effects of the GNSS signal and the required positioning accuracy cannot be achieved.
Similar cases can be found in railway traffic. Stationary free track signalling devices are used to determine location of trains. Data exchange is realised using stationary signals. Raster data of railway tracks are only available with low resolution which comprises large minimum distances between subsequent trains. Releasing trains in blocks should be replaced by dynamic methods to improve the efficiency of railway traffic. Reliable and high resolution location data as well as continuous communication between trains and control locations are required to adjust the succession of trains to the current capacity utilisation of train tracks. Cost-intensive systems e.g. European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and European Train Control System (ETCS) are currently used to accomplish these aims. However, because of their high cost, these systems are only used to manage railway traffic on high volume traffic sections. The proposed systems for optimisation of railway traffic could be a cost effective alternative to existing systems.
Project aims and objectives
This project proposes the combination of GNSS data and additional data determined using terrestrial sensors (IMUs, radar, optical sensors) into a single system. These systems are known as Position, Navigation and Timing Unit (PNT-Unit) in inland water transportation and Train Location Unit (TLU) in railway transportation, respectively. The project PiLoNav focuses on improving these systems through developing applications in the areas of operational traffic management and driver assistance which require reliable and continuous position, navigation and time information.
Possible uncertainties that have an impact on the traffic flow have to be detected and analysed to specify the suitability of sensors. Knowing the position of a vessel is not sufficient to design and conduct sensible vessel movements. Both static (bridges, locks, quay walls) and dynamic factors (timely fluctuation of water levels, position and heading of other vessels) have to be analysed to be able to predict and respond to these in a timely manner. In railway transportation, knowledge of routing, track conditions (tunnels, train stations) and geographical features have to be included.
Both sufficient environmental simulation techniques and signal simulations will be developed to investigate the suitability of these applications in various conditions.
To combine the various requirements, PiLoNav is realised as an interdisciplinary research project with partners from research (Institute of Communications and Navigation (IKN) and Institute of Transportation Systems (ITS) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR. e.V.), the Institute of Transport Telematics and the Geodetic Institute of the TU Dresden) and developement (Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) Fachstelle für Verkehrstechniken (FTV), Interautomation GmbH and DELIMON GmbH).
The 3 years project (01.12.2010 to 31.01.2014) is funded under grant number 19 G 10015A by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).