23 March 2023
A robot that can autonomously install axle counters and balises on the tracks: the ERTMS Trackbot 1.0 must be able to do just that by the end of 2023. The ERTMS Trackbot demonstrated its ability to independently drive between GPS locations during a proof of concept at our railyard in Zutphen.
With the development of the ERTMS Trackbot we contribute to the accelerated implementation of the new European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The ERTMS Trackbot must be able to safely and efficiently install balises and axle counters on sleepers and in rails. The introduction of ERTMS means that approximately 50,000 balises and more than 20,000 axle counters must be installed in the Netherlands. The Trackbot is designed to take on the repetitive and physically heavy work.
This is not as simple as it may seem. The ERTMS Trackbot must find the right location and install the balises and axle counters at the exact location. In addition, we must develop practical solutions to set up the process as efficiently as possible, and we must test the robot to ensure it does its work properly. The proof of concept demonstrates that we are on the right path, but also points out some areas for improvement. The development team is working on these improvements in order to be able to perform another test in October.
In 2020, ProRail introduced the ASAP programme, designed to accelerate the ERTMS tendering process. The goal is to accelerate the implementation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) through innovations. Our Trackbot is one such innovation. We are developing this robot in an innovation partnership with various organisations, including AMT Group and ProRail, in order to contribute to accelerating the implementation of ERTMS.
Installing the new signalling system is a priority for rail infrastructure managers and rail operators.Read more about ERTMS/ETCS