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Advantech’s On-Board Compact Size Controller Ensures Stable Operation of the ATO System in Rome's MRT

Date: 8/6/2019 12:00:00 AM

Project Introduction

Compared to cars and buses, other types of urban transport—MRT, trains, high speed rail—are relatively closed mass systems featuring exclusive tracks that are better suited for driverless applications. Following the advancement and maturity of related technologies, many countries are beginning to introduce driverless systems for rail transit; using these systems to eliminate safety concerns caused by driver fatigue or operational errors. Doing so also increases operational efficiency while simultaneously ensuring better transportation safety.

The electronic equipment behind the system plays a key role in determining whether a driverless train operates smoothly for rail transit. Automatic Train Operation (ATO) is responsible for speed control, train headway adjustments, train stopping, and door opening and closing. Electronic equipment is used to collect data on train status and also sends control commands from the traffic control center. If electronic equipment malfunctions or suddenly crashes because it is unable to withstand the harsh conditions of rail transit, it will cause the train to stop, delay, or become unable to stop normally at designated stations.

In light of these challenges, Advantech provides an on-board compact size controller with modularized design that complies with international rail application standards for ATO systems. It allows train manufacturers to select expansion modules needed for different rail transit scenarios while also providing stability and reliability for driverless systems to operate for long hours in harsh environments. Advantech controllers allow traffic control centers to exercise full control while ensuring the train accurately provides passenger services.

System Requirements

Rome, the Italian capital, is a world famous city with a population of nearly three million people. It is also a major tourist destination with a large number of historical sites. However, because of Rome’s long history, many of the city’s narrower streets—planned before the advent of automobiles—are no longer able to accommodate the massive traffic flows of today. With overwhelmed infrastructure, the traffic situation presents challenges for pedestrians and motorists alike. To alleviate crowded roads, a number of departments across the city government made a decision in 2014 to build Line C of the Rome Metro; adding a third metro line to the existing two. In doing so, the Rome city government is using a state-of-the-art ATO device to build its first driverless metro line.Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

The ATO system will collect data from multiple devices and facilities on each train, such as power supply voltage, wheel temperature, air conditioning, lighting, and doors, before integrating the data and sending it to the train's TCMS, which will then send it onwards to the traffic control center. Given these demands, entry-level on-board controllers that meet functional requirements within a tight budget are essential.

The product requirements listed by the contractor included the following: an in-vehicle computer that passed rail specifications testing, a height of no more than 90 mm, and reasonable pricing. Furthermore, they had to be fan-less, have a wide temperature range, feature a simple, dust-proof design, provide multiple I/O interfaces to ensure effective device data collection, and offer system function expansion for greater convenience.

System Overview

Advantech provided the AIO-CAN210-00A1E, which has an ARS-2110 fan-less computer installed with an exclusive dual CAN port expansion module, as a cost effective in-vehicle controller for the ATO system of this project.Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

The ARS-2110 will be installed below the system slot in the first and last train cars. The in-vehicle controller can receive sensor data through its CAN port and send data to the train's TCMS through its network port, so that the train's status can be sent to the traffic control center.

Furthermore, the trains are equipped with two ARS-2110s with two CAN ports for backup hardware each, so they can switch to the backup computer or CAN bus if either computer or port malfunctions. This ensures malfunctions will not affect the system's control over the train's information and safety.

The ARS-2110 is an on-board compact size controller with a fan-less wide temperature design that compiles with the EN50155 international standard for railways. It meets Class S2/C1 requirements of railway standards and is able to endure a 10ms voltage interruption due to an unexpected power outage or power source change. It will not negatively affect system operations and data accuracy.

For hardware specifications, the compact size of the ARS-2110 (267 x 87.5 x 175 mm) allows it to be easily installed in limited spaces inside train bodies. IP50 dust proof prevents foreign objects and dust from entering the case. In addition to the network port, serial port, and USB port on the box computer, expansion modules are also provided. When the site of the rail transit application requires CANbus or MVB, or when it needs even more serial ports, or SSD and digital I/O, system integration companies can add modules at will to meet the requirements of the site and the customer.

System Diagram

Project Introduction

  • ARS-2110: EN 50155 on-board compact size controller with Intel® Atom™ E3845 processor
  • AIO-CAN210-00A1E: Dual CAN port expansion module with isolation for ARS-2110


ATO is an indispensable subsystem that allows the traffic control center to monitor train status and carry out transportation dispatch for driverless mass transportation systems. System stability is critical to both transportation safety and determining whether or not trains depart on time. Any vibration, temperature change, unstable power supply, or power outage threatens system operations.

Advantech's ARS-2110 has excellent reliability with respect to performance, power, temperature range, electromagnetic compatibility, vibration resistance, and impact resistance. It passed complete EN 50155 testing, allowing it to maintain stable and normal operation in the harsh environments of rail transit applications. Moreover, ARS-2110 not only offers a high price-performance ratio, but its modularized design satisfies the CAN bus requirement of Rome Metro Line C’s ATO system. It reserves space for future expansion—helping train manufacturers use the expansion module on the same hardware platform to develop suitable ATO systems for other sites or customers. Applicability to multiple railway applications makes the entry-level controller a bargain at its price point.

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