Hitachi’s trams, equipped with Bosch technology, will begin service in the new year. Over a year has passed since the introduction of the protective gadget. Like in automobiles, it sounds an alarm, then reduces speed (if necessary), and finally applies the brakes if the situation warrants it.
Trams, like automobiles, can get forward collision warnings (FCW). By the end of 2021, it had been adopted by over 20 cities across Europe and Australia, with over 500 automobiles using it. Initial releases of the software also occurred in North America in the year 2022. Bosch unveiled the technology at CityTech Milan, and a Hitachi tram will be the first to run with it in Italy’s Turin next year. In that case, it will touch down in a second major town in northern Italy.
At the presentation, Heiko Mangold, head of rail engineering at Bosch Engineering, said, “The solution aims to increase the safety of tram circulation in cities to protect people’s lives (similar technologies might have made it possible to avoid or reduce the consequences of the accident in Milan, ed) and avoid increasingly frequent material damage that entails costs high for transport network operators.
In many ways, the mechanism is identical to that of automobiles, and it operates on two distinct levels. In the first, the FCW issues an audible and visual warning to the tram driver, and in the second, if it detects no reaction, it takes over the braking system and brings the tram to a complete stop. Bosch says the deceleration is done gradually so that passengers who are standing don’t get hurt, even seriously.
The German conglomerate ensures cost-cutting across the board by implementing technological safeguards that reduce the need for costly repairs and maintenance, shorten the duration of “downtime,” and provide the driver with much-needed psychological and bodily relaxation.
The Bosch FCW just needs a multifunction camera, a radar sensor, and an electronic control unit, making set up a breeze. The first detects and classifies tram tracks, automobiles, and pedestrians ahead of the tram; this information is then sent to the second, a radar, which creates an image of the surroundings. Last but not least, the control unit evaluates the state of affairs and, taking into account the velocity of the vehicle, determines the potential for collision.
Adopting the system necessitates no changes to the tram’s infrastructure, and its installation only takes ten days. There is also a manageable price tag, on the order of a few tens of thousands of euros.