SmartDrive

SmartDrive

SmartDrive is a unique, cost-effective approach to reducing traction energy costs by up to 25%.

Developed in partnership with The University of Birmingham  Centre for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE), SmartDrive uses detailed route modelling analysis to identify optimum movement sequences - such as coasting points and cruising speeds - that is passed on to driver teams through bespoke training.

  • Combined modelling and driver education package
  • Traction energy costs reduced by 10% to 25%
  • Initial modelling technology sponsored by UK Tram

Proven energy reduction

The simulator, developed by BCRRE, with initial sponsorship from UK Tram, is designed to calculate energy consumption for application on light rail, metro and heavy rail inter-urban self-contained networks.

Each individual route is modelled to find the most appropriate train movement sequences under a range of different scenarios (such as variable weather conditions). 

Once tested under true operational conditions, the evidence is compiled into a bespoke driver training programme specific to each route. 

With no in-cab display - and thus compatible with systems that use line-of-sight driving – the focus is more on empowering the drivers: rather than telling them what to do and when, the approach is more about allowing drivers to apply more efficient behaviours as they see fit and as conditions allow.

And as a result of more efficient transitions between acceleration, coasting and braking, passengers will benefit from smoother rides, whilst less frequent braking will reduce wear and tear and require less maintenance.

Simulation testing in China and on the Edinburgh Tram network have demonstrated a potential reduction in traction power use of between 10% and 25%.

The system can also inform point-to-point timings and route design – for example, factoring in the need for smoother driving profiles and regenerative braking it can help the position of substations. 

For more information: ricardorail@ricardo.com