Image: Rail Cargo Group

Rail Cargo Group puts intelligent freight trains on the track

Image: Rail Cargo GroupRail Cargo Group

By the end of 2020, freight cars of the Austrian Rail Cargo Group will feature position detection, motion sensing and shock detection. The freight division of the ÖBB is partnering up with A1 and A1 Digital to launch the SmartCargo project. Together, they want to put intelligent freight trains on the track.

The SmartCargo project was officially launched at the kick-off event on 4 February at the ÖBB headquarters. Rail Cargo Group’s (RCG) board spokesman Clemens Först and A1 CEO Marcus Grausam presented the technology. Around 13,700 RCG wagons are each fitted with a SmartCargo device, which provides comprehensive information throughout the entire freight transport process.


The position sensor provides the exact GPS coordinates of the car at predefined intervals. Another sensor provides reliable motion detection independent of GPS reception, while the 3D accelerometer sensor is used to detect shocks and monitor the transport of sensitive goods. In addition, the system can use geofencing to send an instant message when it exceeds pre-defined zones, such as country borders. In the absence of network coverage for data transmission, the hardware also has an SMS fallback level.

As part of initial tests, around 300 cars are currently being fitted with SmartCargo. At the same time, an IT platform will be set up where all information relating to a specific transport can be accessed digitally in a clear and compact manner. It will also be possible to integrate third-party cars that are in the train line but are not owned by RCG.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

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

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