Rail transport is at the heart of seamless, sustainable, future-proof, and economically successful mobility solutions.
According to current estimates, almost 70% of the world's population will live in urban centers by 2050. This development will increase the need for advanced mobility solutions innovations within cities, between metropolitan regions, and in the surrounding areas.
At Siemens Mobility we are ready for these challenges. We are moving from an industrial company toward a tech company, and we differentiate ourselves from the competition through digitalization. We make attractive solutions possible - better than anyone else. We foster a spirit of innovation and create space for research, experimentation, networking and reflection throughout the company.
Through rail innovation we drive sustainable value creation for our customers and society. Our technologies transform the future of mobility.Devina Pasta, Head of Strategy, Digitalization, Technology & Innovation, Siemens Mobility
Innovation in rail industryRelying on the framework of Siemens’ core technologies, we are developing product innovations and new technologies. In addition, we drive product development forward in a comprehensive innovation ecosystem with numerous customers, research projects, and startups . We are pioneering mobility with innovative approaches that are moving beyond today's understanding of travel, rail transport, and passenger experience.
Rail innovation in numbers
Worldwide staff in R&D, engineering, and software engineering
Collaborations with about 100 universities
Our technologies in a nutshellOur goal is to be a leader in key technology and innovation areas that are critical to the long-term success of both our company and our customers. Learn more about these core technologies here.
- The Internet of Things (IoT) seamlessly interconnecting physical world and digital world is a key element for digitalization and leads to fundamental changes in all areas of economy and society e. g. Improved Maintenance and Service of interconnected devices. In the special submodule "5G for transportation" we will focus on SMO specific 5G use cases for Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) or Automated Train Operation (ATO).
- Cyber security, as a prerequisite for organizations to safeguard critical infrastructure and assure business continuity, is a top priority at Siemens. The ability to supply products, systems and services with state-of-the-art security becomes a strong competitive advantage. Technology plays an important role, and for this reason cyber security is a core element of Siemens’ technology and innovation strategy.
- Blockchain is a technology for trustworthy distributed databases and a digital protocol for agreement on transactions between partners that do not necessarily trust each other – with no intermediaries. A blockchain, often also called distributed ledger, records transactions in a chronological order that are always transparent and traceable. The Virtual Blockchain Recorder records juridical data like in an airplane’s black box. This enables real-time immutable data storage a critical aspect to implement blockchain.
- Additive Manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, has already changed the service business and can fundamentally change the development and production of serial components. AM enables highest availability of technically improved spare parts. Serial parts can benefit from complex designs with improved functions as well as weight reduction and much more.
- In future industrial manufacturing, products will be created using interconnected processes that include every step of the value chain, from material selection to design and production. Protective coatings, reinforced plastics and insulating materials for electrical machines, as well as models for material-specific design are our research field to reduce weight while maintaining stability considering the long life of vehicles to further reduce lifecycle costs.
- User Interfaces can be found everywhere either in drivers cab in a train, in operation control desk at the railway undertaker or in monitoring or diagnostic systems of our components. A holistic User Experience (UX) approach combines excellent technologies with innovative customer-centric methodologies and continuous user engagement across the entire product lifecycle. That allows quick iterations of prototypes with early and continuous validation of our users.
- Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are key to automation in the entire life cycle of our rolling stock, rail infrastructure and systems. From requirements management via design, digital twin, engineering, manufacturing, roll-out, operation to service and maintenance, AI enhances efficiency, quality and experience for our employees to build and our customers to use Siemens Mobility products.
- Power electronics in rail-based mobility includes PECs for traction and onboard auxiliary systems. To meet the demands of new onboard applications such as hydrogen vehicles and battery traction for commuter rail, as well as PECs with high switching frequencies and higher operating temperature that provide strong leverage. Converter topologies using wide bandgap power semiconductors can reduce size and weight while increasing energy efficiency.
- Digital twins of trains, infrastructure and entire transportation systems will play a decisive role in the future. They will enable better products, smooth project execution and improved operation and maintenance. The combination of digital twins and operational data will allow a new level of transparency on the system state and behavior. Utilizing digital twins to feed information about system performance back the product design allows for an efficient product improvement process.
- Automation technology has been a huge boost to manufacturing, infrastructure and mobility towards autonomous systems. Especially for assisted and driverless vehicles, a comprehensive understanding of the environment is necessary to perform adequate actions. A sensor fusion of heterogeneous sensor data - like cameras, lidar, radar - and digital maps enhances the reliability and safety of the environment perception. Using the analysis from this environment model, awareness and understand of a situation is achieved.
- Software Systems and Processes (SSP) describe development methods for HOW industrial software products are created in order to achieve more immediate and tangible added value for users by increasing the speed of software development while maintaining quality in increasingly complex environments. This applies to all solutions that consist of or contain software, i. e. trains, interlockings, landside IT systems and possibly apps. As a result, the SSP flows indirectly into all mobility products.
- Extended Reality (XR), including Augmented- and Virtual Reality (AR, VR) can bridge the gap between real and digital worlds using 3D visualizations, natural interaction and spatial information. For Siemens Mobility it can enable for example, the interactions with digital twins in engineering and service. Thus, it creates opportunities for training with virtual instead of real machines and design reviews using virtual instead of physical prototypes.
- Today's components like Radar are subject to negative influences by ice and snow, others e.g. balises are expensive to install and maintain. The target is to eliminate sensitivity to external influences as much as possible, while achieving an optimized cost position. To achieve this target, new sensors are being developed using new measurement principles. These will be combined with new digital mapping services providing a detailed track topology for higher accuracy.
- Computer vision is a key ingredient for our products towards higher automation and utilizing the power of digitalization. During operation, Computer Vision (CV) is essential for achieving 100% availability through intelligent and optimized service and maintenance. CV helps to automate rail traffic towards driverless operation. It can prevent violence in trains and optimize passenger transitions at train stops.
Our ecosystems for railway innovationA lively exchange among experts from the fields of research, product development, and application is the best engine for innovation. That's why we cooperate with numerous customers, startups, universities, industry partners, and technology experts.
Siemens Research and Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) Program:
Together with our internal and external stakeholders, researchers, employees, customers, founders, students, and creative innovative minds, we work closely on innovation projects, in publicly funded research consortia, and explore multiple collaboration formats.
Online Collaboration Platform:
Flexibility and adaptability are what counts most in a rapidly changing world. It is more important than ever to exchange knowledge and share experiences.
The Siemens Collaboration Platform focuses on making this possible. It is a global platform that connects creative minds digitally to foster worldwide collaboration and accelerate innovation.
Pre-competitive exchange for long-term mobility goals
Together with customers, partners from the world of science, and competitors, we’re discussing future mobility scenarios in bodies such as Shift2Rail, ERRAC, or UNIFE. The aim is to use rail as the backbone for multimodal passenger and freight transportation.
A concept of future multimodal mobility
What if people didn't have to change means of transport on their journey but could get from the doorstep to their destination faster and in a seamless manner using only one means of transport that reverts to the existing infrastructure?
Supported by RWTH university in Aachen, Germany, and Siemens Mobility, Moodley Industrial Design has already developed a concept of what the mobility of the future could look like. This is part of ERRACS’s concepts for sustainable transport solutions with rail as the central focus. Learn more about it in our fascinating video!