SBB cargo trains. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Shunting by a single person who is not even at the site

Manufacturer Knorr-Bremse and Israeli start-up company Rail Vision will equip multiple SBB cargo shunting locomotives with Rail Vision’s assisted remote shunting system for obstacle detection. After prototype testing is successfully completed at the end of the first quarter of 2021, the partners will be looking into addressing additional business activities to adopt obstacle detection systems for cargo vehicles.

Based on electro-optic sensors, artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities, the systems are expected to make shunting processes of cargo vehicles more efficient. The prototype system can enable a single person to control shunting from a remote location. Today, by contrast, shunting generally takes two people: a locomotive driver and a signaler, who notifies of any possible obstacles and the remaining distance to other vehicles to the
driver via radio from outside. The innovation comes at a crucial time, as several operators are expecting staffing crunches in the medium term.

Fleet management

“We are very happy to jointly enter the crucial testing phase of Rail Vision’s obstacle detection systems on SBB Cargo’s locomotives”, says Nicolas Lange, Chairman of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems. “These systems offer a promising avenue to further support operators in managing their fleets, and they are a building block in realising the future scenario of automatic train operation.”

“Rail Vision is proud to jointly execute this project with our partner Knorr-Bremse Switzerland and in cooperation with Schweizer Electronic. SBB Cargo is widely regarded as a pioneer when it comes to innovation in the railway industry”, says Elen Katz, CEO of Rail Vision. “We are excited to introduce our unique application with our partners to the train industry. Rail Vision’s Assisted Remote Shunting system will improve safety and contribute to unobstructed one-man control in everyday operations”.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

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

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