Piper Networks Receives Train Control Safety Certification

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Piper’s UWB system was most recently pilot tested on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 7-Line subway, providing position data for the Thales Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system. Pictured: Piper Networks CEO Robert Hanczor.

Piper’s UWB system was most recently pilot tested on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 7-Line subway, providing position data for the Thales Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system. Pictured: Piper Networks CEO Robert Hanczor.

Piper Networks’ Ultra Wideband (UWB) train control system has received safety certification from independent assessor TÜV SÜD, paving the way for its integration with signaling and train control programs at transportation agencies worldwide.

Piper reported on Aug. 31 that its UWB-based position and speed technology is the first to achieve CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) Safety Integrity Level 4 (SIL-4) certification. The certification process, which began in early 2019, validated “the development of Piper’s technology with the focus on mitigating potential hazards,” the company said.

Piper described UWB as “a radio frequency technology that surrounds the tracks with coverage and pinpoints the location of trains in real-time within a few centimeters. Using a time-of-flight measurement of radio transmissions, Piper determines the precise location of moving trains and calculates their speed in a manner consistent with the CENELEC standard. System safety is the paramount concern for train control requirements, and Piper’s UWB system provides end-to-end verification and validation of all system components and processes. Now that it is SIL-4 certified, the Piper system can be more seamlessly integrated with higher-level systems to ensure that they are operating with the highest levels of confidence.”

Piper’s UWB system was most recently pilot tested on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 7-Line subway, providing position data for the Thales Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system.

“Ultra Wideband (UWB) is a radio frequency technology that surrounds the railway tracks with coverage and pinpoints the location of trains in real-time within a few centimeters,” according to Piper Networks.

In addition to providing location services for CBTC systems deployed on large urban rail systems, Piper’s technology supports Automatic Train Protection (ATP) systems at varying levels of complexity, the company said. Based on a transportation agency’s requirements, Piper’s UWB system can deliver “critical functionality for vehicle limits compliance, collision avoidance, civil speed enforcement and red signal overrun protection,” for instance. Piper reported that its “proprietary UWB product’s small footprint can be further leveraged to provide these agencies with protection systems for maintenance-of-way vehicles and their workers.”

Piper’s UWB system is SIL-4 CENELEC certified to the following standards:
• Functional Safety Certification: EN 50126 (The Specification and Demonstration of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability & Safety); EN 50128 (Software for railway control and protection systems); EN 50129 (Hardware for railway control and protection systems); and EN 50159 (Safety Related Electronic System for Signaling).
• EMI/EMC Certification: EN 50121-1 (Electromagnetic compatibility); EN 50121-3 (Rolling Stock-Train and Complete Vehicle); and EN 50121-4 (Emission and Immunity of the Signaling and Telecommunications).
• Environmental Certification: EN 50155 (Electronic Equipment Used on Rolling Stock); abd IEC 60068-2 (Environmental Testing of Electronic Equipment).

“Piper’s SIL-4 achievement is the latest step in our five-year program to develop a safety-certified UWB system that propels the industry forward in the development of advanced train control systems,” Piper Networks CEO Robert Hanczor said. “This accomplishment was made possible by the ingenuity of our engineering teams, and the encouragement of our customers and partners who have long recognized the need for new and reliable technologies to help modernize our aging transportation infrastructure.”

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