1. Increasing competitiveness in European transportation systems

The results of AB4Rail are important to increase competitiveness of the European transport systems. From the ACS point of view, the possibility to use more communication technologies (bearer independent) and transport/application protocols is of paramount importance to reduce the operational costs. Furthermore, industries and service providers can exploit new business opportunities in other sectors such as the urban mobility where new Trams with automatic driving capabilities are envisaged.

2. Improving innovation capacity and the integration of new knowledge

AB4Rail is developed with an important contribution of the three Universities, members of the Consortium Radiolabs that are leading research on new technologies for communication and positioning technologies for the trains and connected vehicles and the University USGM. AB4Rail will offer to:

  • Radiolabs the opportunity to improve its research capabilities beyond the actual competences thanks to the new technologies and networking tools to be developed;
  • USGM the possibility to enhance the research knowledge on novel communication technologies in railway sector as well as to improve and identify new features and innovative services of virtual conferences/meeting software tools in order to better meet the industrial community needs.

3. Transfer of competences between sectors

As mentioned before, other important industrial sectors can benefit from the AB4Rail studies, including automotive, satellite networks and UAV. In these sectors, there are some common requirements that could be satisfied with a multi-bearer telecom platform. Radiolabs being engaged on rail and automotive projects is actively pursuing the synergies among the rail and automotive sectors. AB4Rail represents an important opportunity to strengthen the relations with the rail and automotive stakeholders.

4. Other environmental and socially important impacts

AB4Rail project provides important impacts from an environmental and social perspective. Regarding the climate change, a smart digital environment is characterized by a strong presence of rail infrastructures and technologies. The possibility to have important innovative features on ACS (e.g., alternative and traditional bearers, and innovative transport/application protocols) is crucial to realize more efficient, cost-effective railway infrastructures in the next years. It means that important reductions on power consumption can be achieved and then to meet the European Green Deal objectives in the transport field. These objectives are focused on how achieving climate neutrality by 2050. All European initiatives underline the rail’s role as sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport. The benefits for people, economy and climate are also evidenced. The Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, in March 2020 said: “There’s no doubt that railway transport means huge benefits in most areas: sustainability, safety, even speed, once it’s organized and engineered according to 21st century principles.”

From a social point of view, AB4Rail project have important impacts. It can concur to make the rail technologies more interoperable, efficient and high-performing across the digitalization process for the European citizens. This impact is compliant with the:

  • Its mission statement is “Shift2Rail: moving European railway forward”
  • Vision of S2R programme: “to deliver, through railway research and innovation, the capabilities to bring about the most sustainable, cost-efficient, high-performing, time driven, digital and competitive customer-centred transport mode for Europe”

5. Impacts on the users

  • Radiolabs is actively collaborating with RFI (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana) being responsible for testing and validating the new telecom platform (compatible with ACS) on a test train. Therefore, Radiolabs will exploit the possibility to involve RFI as candidate early adopter user of the AB4Rail technology.
  • Radiolabs is also collaborating with FCA/CRF for the connected car (EMERGE project) for which a multi-bearer solution is being investigated. In that particular scenario Radiolabs will involve potential users from the automotive sector.

6. Impacts to standards and regulation

Standardization and regulation bodies such as 3GPP, LoRa alliance, ETSI, CEPT as well as Shift2Rail stakeholders involved in ACS standardization and development, can benefit from the results and recommendations provided by AB4Rail (in public deliverables) concerning the applicability of these new technologies in the rail scenario. In particular, 3GPP which is involved with UIC in the development of FRMCS could use the AB4Rail outputs as support or baseline for their efforts targeted to the inclusion of non-3GPP technologies into the FRMCS framework. Radiolabs is planning also to test some of the FRMCS applications that are currently in the standardisation process.