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Aeva to supply LiDAR for AutomatedTrain project in Germany


The company says its technology, which integrates key LiDAR components onto a silicon photonic chip, can uniquely detect instant velocity as well as position, enabling better hazard detection

Aeva, a company developing next-generation sensing and perception systems, has announced that the Digitale Schiene Deutschland (Digital Rail Germany) initiative has selected its 4D LiDAR technology to support perception and localisation in the AutomatedTrain project. The initiative is managed by DB InfraGO AG, part of Germany’s national railway operator Deutsche Bahn.

The AutomatedTrain project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action with collaboration from 10 partners, including Siemens Mobility and Bosch Engineering, aims to create and trial driverless, fully automated passenger train dispatch and parking functionality by 2026. To achieve this goal, the project plans to equip two regional trains with smart sensor technologies, including LiDAR, to enable the detection of their surroundings for full automation and reaction to obstacles, similar to the operation of self-driving cars.

“Aeva’s high-resolution LiDAR sensor combined with a compact form factor and advanced technology readiness level were in combination the reason for us to decide using Aeva for the AutomatedTrain project,” said Christian Hauswald, technical project lead of AutomatedTrain at Digitale Schiene Deutschland. “We are using the best available technologies and are excited to have Aeva as a supplier in this project because they share our vision for fully automated trains.”

According to Aeva, its frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) 4D LiDAR sensors provide long-range performance combined with high resolution, plus the ability to instantly detect velocity. Velocity detection allows trains to instantly see what’s moving and what isn’t around the tracks, providing faster and more reliable detection of potential obstacles and hazards. In addition, the company says its unique localisation capabilities allow for the real-time estimation of a train’s motion with six degrees of freedom, providing accurate positioning in areas where GPS signals may be unreliable, including tunnels and urban canyons created by tall buildings.

“Digitale Schiene Deutschland and its partners are undertaking massive transformation to modernise the rail industry and will be setting the standard for automated train operations across Europe,” said Jakub Zimny, senior manager of Business Development at Aeva. “We are excited to collaborate with them and provide next-generation sensing and perception technologies to create a safe and reliable platform that can scale to meet the needs of the entire industry.”

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