GaWaLoc, an Era-Star project partial funded by the Austrian and Bavarian state, is one of the many planned uses of the GALILEO global satellite navigation system and will provide a cost-effective, independent tracking solution for wagons, locomotives and block trains. The GaWaLoc system will provide logistic support and surveillance in European countries; outside Europe, support will depend on a suitable communication infrastructure, such as GSM.
GaWaLoc uses cutting-edge technology to provide real-time monitoring of wagon movements and flag up any deviations from the schedule or location. Importantly, the information is independent of the train-operating companies, giving increased control to freight owners. Several sensors for good monitoring are available.
A central consideration of the research was increasing the efficient use of the existing infrastructure and rolling-stock, in the same way that the Single European Sky initiative is developing more efficient use of European airspace. Increased use of the railways and wagons will result in a reduction in transport costs and a competitive advantage.
The GaWaLoc technology is unique, using a next generation GALILEO transponder, which has two key attributes. The first is that additional modules can be added to a GSM transmitter and extend coverage cost effectively with satellite services. Secondly, the low-energy transponder harvests power intelligently, meaning its maintenance free operating period will outperform existing solutions on the market.
There are additional benefits of real-time information:
• sensors to detect unauthorised door openings, changes in load weight, excessive shocks and load temperature monitoring where appropriate
• enhanced information about the status and condition of each vehicle, which will drive higher productivity through a faster reloading rate
• real-time monitoring to help reduce train operation costs and allow the intro¬duction of condition-based rather than periodic preventative control
• automatic provision of information on the vehicle order, brake system status, train integrity checks and more precise calculations of the gross train weight, allowing operating staff to increase efficiency by replacing various manual tasks with automatic once during trains assembly