Research and Development

In the first half of 2010, as well Research and Development accounted for most of the success and growth of the Ansaldo STS Group in the world.
The most obvious results were the huge amounts of new orders, where the main players are the recent products developed in the railway sector and in particular the ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 for High-Speed railways and the innovative metro based on Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) technology, as well as the innovative products in Security and Risk Reduction.
Regarding ERTMS Level 2 products, the fi rst half-year 2010 witnessed a signifi cant demonstration of interoperability with systems supplied by third parties. In particular:

  • installed on Thalys trains, the Ansaldo STS on-board system, proved to be interoperable, through GSM-R radio communications, with the RBC (Radio Block Center) Wayside equipment supplied by Alstom on a line in Belgium and supplied by Thales on a line in the
  • as part of the contract acquired by Ansaldo STS for the ZhengXi line in China, after the system was delivered for operation in the first week of February, the results of the tests run for the interoperability between the on-board equipment of Ansaldo STS and the RBC Wayside equipment supplied by Bombardier, and between the RBC Wayside equipment of Ansaldo STS and the on-board equipment supplied by Bombardier are positive.

With reference to CBTC projects, the fi rst half of 2010 marks a moderate physical progress of the R&D development, which, allowed the operation of the CBTC system, wayside sub-system (Zone Controller) in the Paris metro, line 3 (OCTYS project); the possibility is confi rmed that the system may be activated by the end of 2010 in IATP mode (the full functionality of CBTC will be made available in 2011) on two contracts in China, Shenyang L1 and Chengdu L1.

The Security and Risk Reduction business segment was marked by the completion and installation of Security innovative systems (Metro Campania, Circumvesuviana, RFI) which helped to further extend the range of products in the traditional sectors of Signalling and Automation. Simulations were completed in the case of fi re on a vehicle in transit, and these helped the definition of the Ansaldo STS Group as a key player in Security and Risk Reduction.
In the segment of Security for transportation infrastructures, proposals are aiming at monitoring and protecting critical “assets”, such as stations, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, depots, power sub-stations, etc., against threats, such as:

  • unauthorised access in protected areas;
  • thefts and acts of vandalism;
  • sabotage and terrorist attacks.

All this is achieved through the defi nition of a dedicated solution identifi ed along these steps:

  • risk analysis;
  • designing of the centralised security management system and the sub-systems and fi eld technology to measure and integrate the necessary sensors and devices.

In Risk reduction, the development of a new system named TCCS® (Train Conformity Check System) was completed. It is expected to be used at tunnel entrances.
The primary goal of this system is to increase safety during operation, ensuring the absence of certain technical problems on-board before the train enters the tunnel.
The control is made at fi rst identifying the model of the incoming train and, by means of sensors alongside the tracks, any anomaly is recorded:

  • dimensional anomalies, such as silhouette change, projecting cargo or wheel anomalies;
  • thermal, at parts of the bogie, the underframe or the top deck.

In Risk Assessment, the year 2009 saw the success of the test for fi re in a metro train in a tunnel, which was carried out at the Firemen’s training operational centre of Montelibretti (Rome).
The complex project started almost two years ago at the request of the management of Roma Metropolitane and of Ansaldo STS. The goal of the test was to prove the validity of the technology and systems chosen for the Project of Line C of Rome in terms of fi re safety.
The liveability of the environment, the vehicle resistance, the effi ciency of the alarms and the relevant counter-measures were measured “live” in the case of a fi re on a train in a tunnel of Rome Line C.
The experiment was run on three different tests: natural ignition, backfi re and arson, on three different days.
Thanks to the sensors network built, the fi re was monitored in real time and a fair number of very interesting data were acquired.

At 30 June 2010, research and development costs were EUR 22 million, up from EUR 20 million at 30 June 2009.

The activities undertaken by the Signalling Business Unit, totalling EUR 21 million or 95% of total spending, related to the following companies (fi gures in millions of euros):

  • Ansaldo STS: 9
  • Ansaldo STS France: 10
  • Ansaldo STS USA: 2

Le attività sviluppate dall’Unità Transportation Solutions sono pari a €Mil 1 sostanzialmente allineate ai valori del 30 giugno 2009.

R&D costs at 30 June 2010-2009 by Business Unit (thousands of euros)

R&D costs at 30 June 2010-2009 by Business Unit (thousands of euros)