Technological trio of digitalized freight cars, Digital Automatic Coupling, and a new braking system
The first “building block” is FreightLink, the Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC). This technology, which has long been standard in passenger transportation, is now set to automatically attach freight cars to one another. This involves more than just mechanical coupling or connecting compressed air pipes. New lines for power and data signals will also be connected automatically in future – thus laying an essential foundation for intelligent, automated and intermodal freight management.
At the car level, FreightControl comes into play, an electronic hardware and software solution for digitalized freight cars. Not only would this step soon make condition-based maintenance available to freight cars on a large scale. It would put the industry in a position to also adopt digital or automatic brake testing for freight trains.
Freight consignments from different logistics companies with the same destination or the same route sections could also be proactively combined and transshipped in a planned manner thanks to GPS location. The laborious processes involved in today’s freight car operations would be significantly shortened.
Looking ahead, this is a compelling argument: if Digital Automatic Coupling, automated brake testing and intelligent environment detection all work together, this also allows shunting systems to function in a highly automated manner.