OTIV has been awarded a multi-year contract for the first operational test of automated and remotely controlled heavy freight trains on the Betuweroute section of the Netherlands, which is the main railway connection between the port of Rotterdam and the German industrial Ruhr area. This is one of the first projects worldwide to develop and validate specifications for automated and remotely controlled operation of heavy freight trains in the form of an operational test. OTIV is cooperating on the project with SHIFT Invest and Finindus. With the new investment, OTIV will further develop the technology platform and accelerate its pilot projects and deployment with leading customers in the rail industry. In addition, it also expects to grow its team at its headquarters in Ghent significantly in the short term.
“We are excited to be partnering with SHIFT Invest and Finindus in our mission to lead the autonomous revolution in rail, allowing OTIV to further develop its core technology and to expand the team. This will enable our customers to benefit from the efficiency and safety gains our solutions offer today,” Sam De Smet, co-founder of OTIV.
Rail modernization is key to shifting large amounts of car, freight, and air traffic to green, rail-based transport. One freight train replaces up to 50 trucks on the road, efficiently transporting the same amount of cargo at 9 times fewer CO2 emissions. Autonomous Train Operation (ATO) plays a crucial role in the transition to more sustainable rail transport. ATO increases the railway's cost-efficiency, increases network capacity, improves reliability and can help solve the problem of driver shortages - all while improving the overall safety of the network.
OTIV is working to introduce ATO in both freight and passenger rail transport. Before moving to full automation, it is trying to gradually introduce transitional solutions through driver assistance based on sensors, cameras, and intelligent software. In previous projects, OTIV has already worked with world-wide leading rail operators such as SNCF, Deutsche Bahn, NS, and ProRail, as well as industrial companies such as ArcelorMittal, to implement assistance systems. In addition, OTIV partners with European rolling stock manufacturer CAF to deploy assistance and autonomous systems on the urban rail (trams).