Bosch has developed a new driver assistance system for trams that claims to increase road safety in urban areas.
The first trams featuring this technology will enter into service in Frankfurt.
The innovative driver assistance system warns tram drivers of any impending collision.
If the driver brakes too late, or not at all, the system can engage the brakes independently in order to stop the tram and prevent an accident.
This new system has been developed by Bosch Engineering, a Bosch subsidiary that successfully adapted the company’s large-scale automotive production technology for its new and enhanced collision warning system for city rail transportation.
Hesse’s technical supervisory authority recently approved the electronic driver assistance system for use in public transportation.
Bosch Engineering president Bernhard Bihr said: “Our collision warning system significantly increases the safety of passengers and tram drivers.”
The new collision warning system combines a video sensor, a radar sensor, and a high-performance rail control unit and draws on Bosch’s expertise in large-scale automotive production.
With an aperture of up to 70 degrees, the radar sensor monitors the area up to 160 meters ahead of the tram and measures the speed and distance of any cars, buses or other trams.
Besides mobile obstacles, the radar sensor detects static objects such as buffer stops.
The video sensor complements the radar technology as it keeps an eye on the track ahead and detects anything crossing the rails more quickly and accurately.
The central rail control unit processes information from both sensors, along with other factors, such as the speed of the tram, to provide a detailed image of the environment.
If the system detects that an object is coming dangerously close, it gives the driver a visual and an acoustic warning.
In case the tram driver does not react to the warning signals within two seconds, the automated system slows the tram to a complete stop.
The braking action is so gentle that even passengers who are standing will not lose their balance.
The systems can support the tram driver in all types of driving conditions, from monotonous to challenging, day or night, rain or snow.
Bosch launched the first version of its collision warning system in 2014.
“If that system’s sensors detect a potential accident, it reliably alerts tram drivers of the dangerous situation and does its best to help them react in time themselves to avoid a collision,” Bihr said.
Now, the new and enhanced system takes this to another level, in the event that the tram driver cannot react to the warning in time, the system will brake the tram automatically and bring it to a complete stop.
“We are taking the idea of automated mobility further, beyond the road, and developing solutions that offer increased safety and comfort for rail transportation.” Bihr added.