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A step forward in railway technology

Comillas ICAI organised a technical conference to analyse future advances in automatic train driving

Montserrat Rallo, Director General for Planning, Strategy and Projects at ADIF (centre), accompanied by Antonio Muñoz San Roque, Director of Comillas ICAI.

Montserrat Rallo, Director General for Planning, Strategy and Projects at ADIF (centre), accompanied by Antonio Muñoz San Roque, Director of Comillas ICAI.

20 October 2023

Rail transport has a long technological road ahead. This was made clear during the technical conference "Automatic Driving on Railways. ATO on ERTMS N2", which brought together in Comillas the main players in the railway sector to analyse the prospects for automation in the sector.

"This conference focused on new developments in automatic train driving, applied to the ERTMS signalling system. Among its objectives, in addition to interoperability, are the improvement of transport capacity, the improvement of real-time traffic operation and energy efficiency," said Antonio Muñoz San Roque, Director of the School of Engineering (Comillas ICAI).

The meeting, organised by Comillas ICAI, the Master's Degree in Railway Systems and the ICAITREN Forum-Association of ICAI Engineers, was a success in terms of participation, with 19 speakers and more than 110 attendees from the railway sector, as well as students of the Master's Degree. Montserrat Rallo, General Director of Planning, Strategy and Projects of ADIF, as well as representatives of some of the most important companies took part in the event: AESF, Alstom, Siemens, CAF, Thales, Renfe, ENYSE, Ineco, Iryo and Ouigo.

According to Paloma Cucala, Director of the Institute for Research in Technology (IIT) at Comillas ICAI, the event served to "underline the importance of establishing a coordinated action plan between all the actors - infrastructure administration, railway operators and manufacturers - in order to address the future challenges of implementing ATO over ERTMS, taking into account the costs of the associated investment, and thus achieving the advantages of the system, such as operational improvement, increased capacity and energy efficiency".

The organisers also underlined the important relationship between the IIT and the railway industry, thanks to which numerous research projects have been developed in collaboration with various companies participating in the conference, specifically in automatic driving applications and ATO over ERTMS.

In this sense, Muñoz highlighted the importance for Comillas ICAI and for society of collaboration between the university and industry at all levels, both for the training of professionals through the Master's Degree in Railway Systems and for research and the transfer of knowledge. He also stressed "the consolidated trajectory of our research group in Railway Systems at the IIT, which has been developing research projects for more than 30 years in collaboration with the main railway companies and institutions in our environment to provide new and innovative solutions to the problems presented by the sector. It is therefore applied research with real results, measurements and commissioning".

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