Satellite Navigation in Prague Trams can enhance their safety
The Prague City authority, in cooperation with the Prague Public Transit Company and the Czech Technical University Faculty of Electrical Engineering is trialling the introduction of satellite navigation for Prague trams. Satellite navigation can enhance their safety. The pilot project is verifying the reach of global satellite navigation systems, i.e. GPS, Galileo and Glonass. This technology could in future be used for ongoing projects: tram anti-collision system; electronic map of Prague; online information for passengers about the movement of individual trams in Prague; or the Prague public transport central control system.
The CTU Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Prague has long been dealing with issues around satellite and integrated navigation. In cooperation with Czech companies, under the auspices of a project run by the Centre for Integrated Satellite and Terrestrial Navigation Technologies, they have been developing their own high-precision positioning solution, with particular attention to zones with poor satellite signal reception. The current real-time pilot testing allows for satellite signals to be monitored promptly with regard to disruptive phenomena.
Also involved in project preparations are the Czech Ministry of Transport and the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA), who in the long term supports the introduction of new satellite navigation applications for use beyond the transport sector.
Equipment and vehicles for the pilot tests have been loaned free of charge.
Evidence of success
The measured and processed data obtained from satellite navigation will be analysed in terms of usability, e.g. for helping to ensure greater tram safety and reliability; the endeavour also opens up the prospect of semi-autonomous tram transport. Making use of the Galileo navigation system is part of the Prague Public Transit Company outlook for 2024. The Prague Public Transit Company aims to purchase a navigation system for all modes of transport, which tally some 2400 vehicles in all.
Where the antennas are placed on the tram has proved important. In practice, the antennas will be put at the front end for reasons to do with control, safety and other support systems.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project is an exceptional example of cooperation between the academic and public sectors, showing how research and practice need to go hand in hand. The project has a transnational outreach, extending the CTU and the Prague Public Transit Company cooperation to include the Czech Ministry of Transport and the GSA international agency.
Satellite navigation in Prague Trams will help to get online traffic data that Prague passengers can use through apps that show the trams’ current location.
The technology can also be used for an anti-collision system for trams, whereby the aerials transmit short data messages between the vehicles. The device then assesses the risk of a tram crash and warns the driver of a looming collision. The system can also stop the tram without the driver’s intervention.
Photo: DPP- Petr Hejna
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