Automatic Train Operation on RER A Metro line. Photo credit: Alstom

ATO and Cyber Security central themes at Intelligent Rail Summit

Automatic Train Operation on RER A Metro line. Photo credit: Alstom

The Intelligent Rail Summit 2017 takes place in Vienna this year on the 28th, 29th and 30th of November. It will be held at the Info Center of Wiener Linien, marked by the themes ‘Automatic Train Operation’ (ATO) and ‘Cyber Security in Rail’. More than twenty experts will provide insight in these important topics, which are expected to dominate the rail industry in the following years.

The first day of the conference (28th of November) will be all about ATO, led by chairman of that day Dr. Rob Goverde of the Technical University of Delft. “ATO is the broad term for automatic driving on railway, which comes in different levels. The first level is where a driver is present to, for example, open and close the doors, push the button and act when needed. The most advanced stage of ATO is Unattended Train Operation (UTO). This indicates a complete driverless system, which currently only exists in metro systems”, Goverde explained to Dutch railway journal

On this day, various specialists will elaborate on their plans and experiences on the ground. To name a few, Alfons Schaafsma of ProRail, Nikolaus Panzera of the Wiener Linien en Jacques Poré of Alstom will take the stage. Other experts will explain which lessons can be drawn from experiences in other industries. As such, Prof. dr. Carl-Herbert Rokitansky of the University of Salzburg will explain how algorithms used in the aviation industry can be applied to rail transport.

ATO and cyber security

Because new railway systems as ATO and ERTMS are directed by computer systems at bay, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Therefore, the second day of the conference (29th of November) will be dominated by the theme of cyber security in the railway sector.

François Hausman, head of the Shift2Rail Cyber Security project, explains how Shift2Rail is working to develop an international, integrated approach to cyber security. Director of cyber security at Alstom, Valérie Escalier elaborates on the cooperation between train manufacturers and aeroplane builder Airbus, in protection against potential hacker attacks. Domenico Raguseo and Domenico Scardicchio of IBM explain how an international technology firm looks at the protection of the railway network.

New metro line

In Vienna, a new UTO-metro connection is currently under construction. As part of the conference, Wiener Linien offers various technical visits on the 30th of November. Congress visitors will have a chance to witness the construction activities on site.

Last year, the Intelligent Rail Summit took place in the Italian Naples, centralised around the themes of Wayside Train Monitoring Systems (WTMS), Inframonitoring and Big Data. Because the conference was a great success, the themes will be repeated in 2018.

Read more about the conference here.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.