A CLOSER LOOK: THE FULLY AUTOMATED SYSTEM
The Fully Automated System
Driverless technology is an innovative system already used for the underground systems in Hong Kong, Lille, Paris, and above all Copenhagen (the Underground with the configuration must similar to that adopted to build Line C).
In addition to Rome’s Line C, the driverless system is used in Italy on the Brescia Underground and on the new Line 5 of the Milan Underground.
The Fully Automated System replaces the driver, as it can: operate the vehicle, route it on the line, regulate its starting/stopping and speed, manage the opening/closing of platform doors, and identify obstacles and states of emergency.
The train can carry out numerous activities autonomously (such as automatic recovery online, etc.).
Moreover, the vehicle has the ability to communicate in real time to and from the Operations Central Building, from which the line is managed almost entirely automatically (only major decisions/grave anomalies are handled by control personnel.
Each train has 52 passenger access points: messages/images can be exchanged in real time by all operating vehicles with the Central Train Dispatchers’ Office. Each vehicle is equipped with a complete audio and video information system, an SOS button for emergencies, and an INFO button to receive information.
The rider can count on constant monitoring: each train has 12 video cameras and 12 video monitors, so every service anomaly along the line or at the stations is immediately signalled. The audio system can transmit emergency announcements in real time.
The first Metro C order to AnsaldoBreda involves 13 trains, currently circulating on the operating line, consisting of 6 cars each. The cars have 204 seats, with spaces for the disabled and for transporting bicycles.
Cruising speed will be 35 km/h, but trains can travel at speeds of up to 80 km/h. They are 109.4 m in length, making them the longest high-automation driverless trains in Europe.
Before start-up, the Line C trains passed a series of tests and checks. Function and safety tests were performed on the Velim international circuit in the Czech Republic, where a prototype travelled more than 20 thousand kilometres.
At the Montelibretti Fire Department centre, a train car was subjected to fire testing in a cut-and-cover tunnel, to verify the materials’ resistance and the outflow of the smoke produced by any fire on a train stopped at the station or in the tunnel.
To determine the thermal power curve, the materials’ behaviour, and the proper sizing of the safety systems, a box car/train wholly identical to the others being supplied was sacrificed in an experiment unique in the world. Incontrovertible data were thus acquired, which also allowed the entire international scientific community to acquire real data priceless for better defining the strategies for preventing fires and for managing the egress of riders in the tunnel.
In light of the experiment, the vehicle that was made is not only in compliance, but has, in its performance, exceeded the values imposed by the latest European regulations for the prevention of fires.
The main subsystems the driverless system is based on are: ATC, Automatic platform screen doors, Vehicle, Electric power, Telecommunications, SCADA, Access Control and Ticketing, Civil Systems.
ATC (Automatic Train Control)
The ATC system manages the processes by which the vehicles’ movements are controlled and regulated safely and efficiently, allowing the trains to be operated automatically with no onboard personnel, both along the line and in the depot areas.
The automatic train control system consists of three sub-systems already trialled for some time in numerous railway infrastructures and on underground lines:
- ATP (Automatic Train Protection) is an automatic protection system that controls speed and distance between trains. Used since the beginning of the last century in the first underground systems, it guarantees the transport system’s safe operation by, for example, imposing a safety distance between the trains, obeying the speed limit in the various sections, and boarding passengers safely thanks to control of the platform screen doors and the vehicle doors.
- ATS (Automatic Train Supervision) is a system for the overall control of the underground system and for centralised traffic management. It manages the trains’ movement in relation to the established operating schedule.
- ATO (Automatic Train Operation) is an automatic driving system that regulates operation for each vehicle in accordance with the indications provided by the ATS, and the targeted stop at the stations. It also automatically controls the trains’ movement, from starting on the route to stopping at the station, and even, when necessary, the automatic recovery of a broken-down train.
The SCADA – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition – system, certainly unique among all similar transport systems, is able to handle an enormous flow of information. To date in fact, with the opening of the Line between Monte Compatri and Pantano–Lodi, 21 stations are operative, and each station has, on average, approximately 7,500 communication points. From each point, a series of status information messages is sent to the centralised traffic control. More than a million pieces of information are therefore exchanged in real time.
Video cameras are installed every 200 m inside the tunnel, as well as on the platform and outside. An imposing transmission network based on Ethernet – Optic Fibre – WIFI permits dialogue/exchange of information, and transmits to the Operations Central Building, on dozens of high-resolution and large-sized screens, an accurate display of the entire line.
The Graniti Workshop/Depot and the Operations Central Building
The Graniti Depot rises on a 20-hectare area, and was created with the function of stabling the entire train fleet. Able to accommodate 42 trains, it is operated 90% automatically, and is equipped with parking areas, automated areas for washing and blowing the undercarriage assemblies, as well as workshops for preventive and corrective maintenance.
The heart of the Depot is the Central Train Dispatchers’ Office, the control room similar to that in an airport, from which all the operating trains are driven and controlled.
- control of the circulation of the trains
- monitoring of passengers for safety purposes
- supervision and control of the electrical traction systems
- communication with passengers on trains and platforms
- communication with service personnel on the line
- dissemination of information to passengers (audio/video)
- audio/video recording
- recording of events and of significant operating data for all subsystems
Operation assistance systems
For Underground C, original and specific operator assistance systems have been developed to make the operation of a complex line safer.
OPERATIONAL DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM
The Operational Decision Support System (ODSS) developed for Line C makes it possible help the driverless system’s operators handle operating conditions both during normal operation and during any anomaly conditions. This system provides both indications on the proper actions to be implemented, and support for implementing them as effectively as possible.
The Operational Decision Support System’s support capacity is founded upon the use of a knowledge base consisting of the system’s configuration, the formalised operating procedures, and the so-called “Action Cards” that summarise the already formalised operating procedures.
It is also possible to logically break down the Operational Decision Support System into three macro-environments, based on the functions made available to the user:
- Decision Support Environment;
- Maintenance Environment;
- Training Environment.
For each of the three problems, operators are presented with the proper procedures to be implemented.
The Integrated Diagnostics System is an operation Assistance System dedicated to the operation of Line C.
DIAG has the events analysis function aimed at system diagnostics, and operates first and foremost on the basis of the information that is collected and made available through an instrument (DAS) that normalises the received information. Integration and appropriate processing (by filtering/correlations) is thus allowed. This makes it possible to effectively identify equipment malfunctions, the causes of breakdowns, and the components “at fault.” The correlations must take into account the dimension of time in order to be able to effectively achieve these objectives.
To carry out its functions DIAG has instruments for:
- defining the correlations;
- executing the correlations;
- presenting the diagnosis.
Maintenance Management System
The Maintenance Management System (sistema di gestione della manutenzione – SGM) is based on the Carl Source product (by Carl Software), suitably configured then customised with some add-ons, and accompanied by ad hoc reporting, and lastly with an interface module towards the Normalisation Layer. This System analyses how the solution that is provided can satisfy the matrix of requirements developed specifically for Underground C. The technical report, developed jointly with the technical documents regarding the implementation of the solution, is the basis upon which the acceptance tests will then be performed.
This system, which operates as an interface between the central ATC and the Performance Index Calculator System, is, for the sake of simplicity, called PIC, and manages, in integrated fashion, the data originating from the field to provide the values of the system’s parameters of availability and of keeping to the schedule.
In developing the PIC, the issue of security and privacy was dealt with. The application is accessed only upon request and after verification of credentials; there are also different user profiles, so as to guarantee exclusive access to the product’s various functions. PIC was designed and developed with the objective of facilitating the process of interaction between system and user; the graphical interface is user-friendly, allowing the product to be used even by the user segment without specific IT knowledge.
The system implemented for the “Performance Index Calculation” is tasked with providing the information needed to understand whether the operation of the Underground’s Line C in Rome is taking place in accordance with what was established.
To perform this task, the PIC system calculates the following indicators:
- Overall availability is the parameter that measures the ratio between actual operating time, during which operation is properly insured, and the scheduled operating time;
- Technical availability is like Overall availability but account is taken of the intervals of non-availability actually needed to restore service after a breakdown;
- Keeping to the operating schedule.
The PIC system has two ways of calculating the indicators:
- On-Line: the indicators of Overall Availability and of keeping to the operating schedule are calculated automatically during operating hours. These values are not definitive, as they are based on the calculation of a part of the field data (that is, those available until the moment of calculation).
- Off-Line: the indicators are calculated at the end of the daily operating schedule on all the field data collected during operation.
During the on-line calculation, the indicators of Overall Availability and of keeping to the operating schedule are processed at regular intervals that can be configured by an operator with the profile of administrator (for example, 5-minute intervals).
The calculation of the Technical Availability indicator takes place in manual mode, which is to say only after the operator has given the command. In particular, Technical Availability may be obtained only following validation of the non-availability intervals by an operator. The system’s main functions may be classified as follows:
- Acquisition function;
- Processing function;
- Consultation function;
- Validation function.