Technologies that Ease Infrastructure Requirements to Enable Smart Cities Transportation Options

Oct. 7, 2017

With populations rising rapidly in major cities and urban areas, transportation infrastructures are trying desperately to keep up with growing demands. That is why ensuring more efficient mobility is a key goal in the implementation of Smart Cities. For their part, transit agencies and operators see the likely need for their business models to change to offer a broader range of choices.
Helping municipalities maximize resources and simplify and reduce infrastructure requirements are next-generation computing and communications technologies. These advanced solutions will help developers bring about a digital transformation in transportation that securely connect disparate systems to support more intelligent, new public transport approaches that include the connected train.
Demonstrated in military and aerospace environments, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) open architecture computing technologies make up the strong foundation for intelligent connected rail systems. Using COTS computing platforms, developers have the established and standardized modular technologies they need for critical interoperability between the diverse range of sub-systems used by transit agencies today. Interoperability isn’t the only issue solved by open architecture platforms. Highly integrated transportation computers also simplify development and speed deployment of proven systems that meet Smart City power, security and connectivity mandates.
Future Smart Cities Transit Options
Promising transportation options for the future include Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and autonomous trains that will also need more advanced levels of computing and communication technology to help operators maximize decision-making from their data usage to enable a higher level of responsiveness. MaaS relies on a digital network of devices that enable travelers to order end-to-end transport services across the entire spectrum of transit modes, instead of having to book each mode separately. It ingeniously solves how best to get people to their destination based on real-time conditions and while into taking account all the possible options and each user’s preferences.
It is relevant to note that driverless does not equate to autonomous -- driverless trains are already in use in numerous cities around the globe. Autonomous trains are seen as the next step in the Smart Cities evolution, and the technology to enable them is already in work on lines throughout the world. The two emerging technology areas that will help drive autonomous development are the Internet of Things (IoT) and High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC). In order to collect necessary data, developers will need to implement IoT-enabled onboard gateways for the secure transfer of information to a central location where it can be analyzed for further action. IoT intelligent computing platforms provide the broad connectivity, system health management, built-in interoperability with enhanced security that makes effective and cost-efficient transit management possible.
Technologies for Autonomous Trains
HPEC is one of the technologies behind driverless cars. Extremely powerful, only one HPEC platform with built-in redundancy provides the performance necessary for autonomous operation. This allows operators to lessen the need for costly trackside infrastructure. HPEC platforms provide the required support, too, for SDN (Software Defined Networks) and NVF (Network Function Virtualization) technologies. These technologies when combined with IoT-enabled gateways and Fog/Cloud processing are the foundation for MaaS and other business models.
Kontron has been actively developing IoT-ready HPEC platforms for transportation giving system developers the rugged parallel server performance they need to manage autonomous train operations from a single architectural design. With its HPEC solutions, Kontron integrates the innovative processor capabilities of the advanced 8-core Intel® Xeon® D-1540 (Broadwell DE). Its server-class performance and virtual machine architecture allow autonomous train designers to take advantage of the extensive capital and operational efficiencies provided by isolated workloads configured to dynamically share common resources. These are just the capabilities needed to build and operate the new services and applications that will make tomorrow’s Smart Cities run smoothly and efficiently.


Valentin Scinteie, Transportation Business Development Manager, Kontron