How to…

Fast track innovation

May 29, 2019

In the first project of its kind, DB and Siemens Mobility have teamed up to run an ‘Ideas Train’ to pioneer innovation, Roger Williams learns more

Create a platform
The Idea Train concept is designed to provide a unique platform where future passenger service ideas for rail can be discussed, developed and showcased by suppliers. Different designs can be trialled in a real train environment, reducing expensive post-implementation redesigns and amendments.

Call for innovations
The complete railway supply chain is encouraged to participate and identify innovations they would like to try out. Dr Sabina Jeschke, chairman of DB Regio, says: “With the Ideas Train we are making a substantial contribution in the research and development of the future of passenger transport.”

Future proof
Jeschke continues: “Customer needs are undergoing a dramatic change, and at an increasingly rapid pace. The Ideas Train gives us, and our partners, the chance to develop and test technologies for a better, integrated passenger experience. We will also use MindSphere, the cloud-based open internet-of-things operating system, from Siemens.”

Trial ideas
The Ideas Train already features the prototype of an ‘Active Noise Cancelling’ system, developed with Israeli company Silentum – in what’s being called the ‘power napping’ module. Ambient noise on trains can create a poor-quality experience on long journeys, so this innovation reduces noise from external aerodynamics, air conditioning, and suspension bogies to allow passengers to relax and sleep.

Play with space
The Ideas Train also features ‘My Cabin’, a premium seat aimed at business customers. It features a window that can be frosted for privacy, a large screen that can be connected to a laptop, and an ergonomic, adjustable chair.

Sit pretty
A new smart seat, built with Polish-based TAPS, offers digital services including ticket purchase and check-in through an integrated touchscreen. Passengers can also order food and beverages, choose music and films and personalise their seat position.

FACT FILE
• Noise- cancelling systems trialled help maintain traveller health and wellbeing and cut stress
• The ‘My Cabin’ seat is trialling innovations for Business travellers
• Siemens’ Mind Sphere allows smart seating to be customised with preferences that can be saved and applied on the next journey. It will even save the point in the film where the passenger left off