Not just cars: Forward Collision Warning (FCW) is also available for trams. About twenty cities between Europe and Australia had already adopted it during 2021 for a total of over half a thousand vehicles. In 2022, the first applications also started in North America. In Italy, where Bosch presented the device at CityTech in Milan, it will debut in Turin next year on a Hitachi tram. Then it will also land in another center of northern Italy.
“The solution aims to increase the safety of tram circulation in cities to protect people’s lives (similar technologies would perhaps have made it possible to avoid or reduce the consequences of the Milan accident, ed) and avoid increasingly frequent material damage which entails costs for transport network operators,” said Heiko Mangold, engineering manager for the railway sector at Bosch Engineering, at the time of the presentation.
Operation is substantially similar to that of cars and works on two levels. In the first, the FCW warns the tram driver with a double signal, acoustic and visual, in the second, if it does not detect any reaction, it intervenes to brake the vehicle until it comes to a complete stop. “Deceleration – informs Bosch – takes place gradually so as not to cause damage or injury, even serious, to standing passengers”.
The German multinational ensures savings on every front: technology guarantees safety and at the same time limits maintenance and repair costs, also limiting the costly costs of “downtime”, not to mention the psychic and physical relief for the driver.
Installing the technology is relatively simple because the FCW from Bosch requires a multifunctional camera, a radar sensor and an electronic control unit. The first identifies and defines tracks, vehicles and people in front of the tram whose data is then transferred to the second, the radar, which reconstructs an image of the surrounding environment. Finally, the control unit analyzes the situation and, based on the vehicle’s speed, calculates the risk of collision.
The adoption of the technology does not require interventions on the infrastructure and it only takes about ten days to install it on the tram. The cost is also sustainable: we are talking about a couple of tens of thousands of euros.