Ericsson gets head of steam for 5G connectivity in European rail industry

Swedish tech supplier joins Association of the European Rail Supply Industry to show how next-generation networks can enable the industry to meet tomorrow’s IT and communications challenges

Ericsson has joined the Association of the European Rail Supply Industry (UNIFE), aiming to take advantage of new communications technical standards within the industry and show how 5G and mission-critical networks can enable it to meet the challenges of rail digitisation.

UNIFE represents European train builders and rail equipment suppliers, and by joining it, Ericsson said it is strengthening its commitment to developing critical network capabilities for the rail industry.

Built on 3GPP 4G and 5G technology, Ericsson’s mission-critical networks and applications deliver next-generation, secure, resilient and high-performance mission-critical mobile broadband communication services, said the company, adding that it is working with communications service providers to empower digital transformation for public safety agencies and critical infrastructure industries.

As a UNIFE member, Ericsson said it will further support the railway sector to tap the potential of digitisation to improve the quality and efficiency of operation, passenger experience and network and data security.

It said its membership will make an important contribution to accelerating the modernisation of railway communications with 5G for FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication Systems). In 2018, Ericsson and Swisscom demonstrated end-to-end network slicing to meet the needs of the railway sector, and Ericsson is currently testing connectivity together with national rail companies.

Meanwhile, in Nürnburg, Germany, Ericsson has built multiple 5G radio sites at the city’s switching yards to enable the use of drones and artificial intelligence (AI) in accident prevention. In a live 5G test, drones transmitted high-resolution images from the freight yard over a 5G connection to an AI engine, enabling the detection of possible accident risks on the track. In the next phase of the project, AI will be used to check the pressure threshold of hazardous goods transport and to monitor valuable goods.

Also, as a UNIFE member, Ericsson said it will be able to participate in EU-funded innovation and research projects.

Manuel Ruiz, head of mission-critical networks at Ericsson, said the fundamental changes in technology that come with 5G and mission-critical networks will enable the rail industry to meet the challenge of digitisation and business transformation.

“With the standardisation of the FRMCS expected to be based on 5G, Ericsson is honoured to join UNIFE,” he added. “Many communications service providers in Europe have already chosen Ericsson’s 5G technology. We look forward to helping the railway sector achieve their operational goals using this technology.”

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