Tuesday 30 November 2021

Translate4Rail team perform second round of pilot testing in Villach and on Tarvisio – Pontebba

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The Translate4Rail project, funded by Shift2Rail and jointly managed by UIC and RNE, carried out a second round of pilot testing, performing a series of field tests and assessing the language prototype in operation.

The different languages in international rail operation represent a key obstacle to interoperability. However, the sector’s ambition to implement a modal shift towards rail necessitates specific actions to be taken, and these include the removal of the language barrier in international train operation.

The objective of the Translate4Rail project is to produce robust solutions for effective communication between train drivers and signallers (traffic controllers) who speak different languages; solutions that operate on a European scale and comply with the current safety level, as a minimum.

Following the development of the prototype, laboratory tests, and training of the members involved in the tests, the first round of pilot testing (carried out in June and July 2021) checked the main functionalities of the solution (connections, correct transmission, message recognition and selection) in the operational environment.
The second round of pilot testing focused on the use of functionalities to establish effective communication between train driver and signaller, ensuring that the interactions and ergonomic aspects of the situation were as close as possible to real operational situations, and tested the autonomy of the tool to simulate how users can face different situations without any prior preparation or knowledge of Predefined Messages (PDMs). In this case, the search function using keyword(s) was the subject of the test.

Experts from the infrastructure managers RFI and ÖBB Infra were closely involved in the tests, together with the railway undertakings DB Cargo, Lokomotion, Rail Cargo Austria, and Rail Traction Company. The very high enthusiasm of those involved in the field tests, as well as the strong support from the external staekholders (from ÖBB TS, Frequentis and the Translate4Rail LT application developer Synvance in particular) brought the work on the Translate4Rail LT prototype using the database of Predefined Messages to fruition.

Testing began on 20 October with tests at standstill in Villach and communication with the signaller in Tarvisio, then continued on 9 November on the Tarvisio – Pontebba stretch, where several scenarios (‘normal’, ‘degraded’ and ‘emergency situation’) were successfully tested. Testing was completed by further tests at standstill on 24 November in Arnoldstein.

To ensure safety during the tests, bilingual drivers and traffic controllers were involved in all field tests.

To get as close as possible to real operating conditions, the tool’s autonomy was tested using improvised scenarios. The description of the situation was given to the driver and signaller, and they had to communicate on the basis of their requirements with no prior preparation, just as would happen in real operation.

Based on their experience from both pilot rounds, the drivers and traffic controllers involved will provide feedback on language tool evaluation, test evaluation, ergonomic aspects and their input regarding safety. Based on this and the analysis of the results, the Translate4Rail research project will provide recommendations on operational uptake at EU level, on human factors and ergonomic aspects, and on the technical perspective, together with conclusions regarding the safety aspects of the field tests.

This project has received funding from the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 881779. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Shift2Rail JU members other than the Union.

For further information please contact:
UIC: Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director
gehenot@uic.org
Parinaz Bazeghi , Digital Project Manager
bazeghi@uic.org
Philip Van Den Bosch, Senior Freight Advisor
vandenbosch@uic.org
RNE: Peter Šišolák, Head of TM and TPM
peter.sisolak@rne.eu
Juraj Maliaček, Traffic Management Manager

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