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Smart transport offers significant advantages for operators whilst making railways an increasingly appealing means of transport for commuters. Developing automatic and autonomous train operation is vital to drive increased transport capacity, energy efficiency, timeliness and door-to-door travel comfort and seamlessness.

CAF devotes its efforts towards developing a number of emerging technologies, such as secure communications, machine vision technology and digitalisation in general.


The first steps towards automatic train operation (ATO) have brought huge advantages, such as additional capacity, less energy consumption, increased timeliness, reduced operating costs, etc.

In fact, the envisaged future smart transport ecosystem will call for higher levels of automation and, to this end, a smooth shift to driverless train operation (GoA4) is underway, i.e. a modular and evolutionary solution, which considers using ATO on ETCS or even in the non-ETCS area using side signal information.

The driving and remote control function will also be enabled when ATO operation enters the degraded mode. There is an increasing demand for the remote driving of rail vehicles in specific operating scenarios, such as depots or shunting yards, as an intermediate step before fully automating these environments.

Secure communications


Autonomous vehicle features call for precise information regarding the location of the vehicle in the infrastructure it operates in.

Current technologies allow for algorithms embedded in the on-board electronics to be developed in order to securely track the vehicle's location in real time.

Autonomous vehicle technology


The automation and autonomy of railway equipment aims to make smart transport a reality which would offer significant advantages for operators whilst making railways an increasingly appealing means of transport for passengers.

Achieving this level of railway automation relies on new emerging technology:

  • A reliable environment perception system, which combines the date from the sensors and machine vision in order to identify external hazards and detect any signals on the ground.
  • The implementation of algorithms relating to taking decisions on-board which are based on Artificial Intelligence.
  • The implementation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
  • A communication system capable of managing the secure connection between the infrastructure and vehicles (V2X).
  • Advanced TCMS with improved safety functions.
  • Secure train positioning with sensor support.

Secure communications


Automation and any features related to driverless operation call for fleets to be properly controlled remotely. This must also be performed with high levels of reliability and availability so as to ensure service quality.

To this end, it is vital that secure communication technology be used and that cybersecurity concepts be applied to the comprehensive solution.

CAF applies state-of-the-art technologies to integrate the best solutions:

  • V2X communications (vehicle-to-vehicle, train-to-train).
  • 5G technology implemented in communications.
  • Critical communication cybersecurity.

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