With DriveSmart, each individual route is modelled by a software-based simulator, developed by BCRRE (with initial sponsorship from UK Tram), to find the most appropriate movements under a range of different scenarios, such as variable weather conditions. This identifies, for example, the optimum coasting points and cruising speeds specific to the route gradients and curvatures, as well as the vehicle's own characteristics.
Once tested under true operational conditions, the evidence is compiled into a bespoke driver training programme that is delivered to your driver teams showing how to minimise energy usage yet still maintain consistent total journey times.
No in-cab display - DriveSmart is about driver teams applying their own knowledge
With no in-cab display - and thus compatible with systems that use line-of-sight driving - the focus is on empowering your driver teams, rather than instructing them on what to do. DriveSmart is about allowing train and tram drivers to apply their knowledge as they see fit and when conditions allow.
Furthermore, as a result of more efficient transitions between acceleration, coasting and braking, passengers benefit from smoother rides, whilst less frequent braking reduces wear and tear and results in less maintenance.
Simulation testing in China and the UK has demonstrated a potential reduction in traction power use of between 10% and 25%.
The system has been installed on the Edinburgh Tram system since April 2018 and the experiences of their engineering and driver teams following DriveSmart's first year can be seen in the two minute video above.