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Supply Side: Alstom, Amsted Digital

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Alstom and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are collaborating “to help advance cybersecurity education, development and research in the transportation industry.” (RIT Photograph)

Alstom and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are collaborating “to help advance cybersecurity education, development and research in the transportation industry.” (RIT Photograph)

Alstom and the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology sign a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on cybersecurity education. Also, Amsted Digital Solutions SAS expands its contract with Ermewa SA, a European lessor of freight and intermodal railcars.

Alstom and the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute on Jan. 17 reported a new collaboration “to help advance cybersecurity education, development and research in the transportation industry.” Alstom has strong ties to the Greater Rochester area, with an office in Henrietta, N.Y., and an rolling stock manufacturing facility in Hornell, N.Y.

Alstom engineers and experts will teach RIT’s undergraduate computing-security degree students about signal security. The company also plans to sponsor and participate in student capstone projects and, in the future, to sponsor a graduate research fellowship related to transportation cybersecurity. Through the Memorandum of Understanding, Alstom said it will have “access to future talent and the latest knowledge to develop future technologies that will make digital technology smarter and more resilient to cybersecurity threats.”

Additionally, Alstom will serve as theme-sponsor for RIT’s next Global Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) in 2023-24. Established at RIT eight years ago, CPTC “allows students from colleges around the world to face-off in a battle of ethical hacking,” the organizations said. “The competition helps students build and hone the skills needed for a job as a penetration tester in the cybersecurity industry—an industry that has a severe shortage of qualified professionals.”

While prior competition scenarios have centered on the energy grid, hospitality and finance, next year’s theme will focus on transportation and signal cybersecurity. Alstom experts are slated to assist in modeling and developing the competition environment.

“By focusing the competition around transport and signal cyberinfrastructure, we are helping elite students prepare for promising careers—making sure that we can move the food, water and supplies that enable modern civilization,” said Justin Pelletier, Director of CPTC and Director of RIT’s ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute (GCI) Cyber Range and Training Center. “We are deeply grateful for Alstom’s partnership because we will be able to build realistic models and simulations that draw from their leadership in this critical infrastructure sector.”

Added Ersin Uzun, the Katherine Johnson Executive Director of RIT’s ESL GCI: “Collaborations between Alstom engineers and ESL GCI researchers will help to improve the security of the transportation infrastructure that we all rely on daily.”

“Partnering with institutions such as RIT’s ESL GCI creates value for the entire rail sector and cybersecurity industry,” said Eddy Thésée, Alstom’s Vice President of Cybersecurity Products and Solutions.

In related developments, Alstom and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering in November signed a memorandum of understanding to build new research and student engagement programs on mobility and the technologies “that make transportation smarter, more sustainable and energy efficient.”

(Amsted Digital Photo)

Amsted Digital on Jan. 16 reported landing a multi-year contract to supply 7,000 IQ Series™ gateways to Ermewa SA. Ermewa SA has 45,000 railcars in its fleet—used to transport hazardous and non-hazardous liquids, gaseous, bulk and diversified general cargoes, including food and non-food products—and provides maintenance, repairs and operations through its European network of certified workshops and partners.

The IQ Series gateway is Amsted Digital’s newest telematics platform, which the company said “provides a maintenance-free, solar-powered, rechargeable device that delivers real-time onboard health monitoring of key running components without the need for wireless sensors” and is designed “to meet the most demanding requirements of freight rail applications.”

According to Amsted Digital, data collected from the IQ Series device “is synthesized into actionable intelligence that customers access through Amsted Digital’s Supply Chain Visibility™ software platform, a cloud-based technology stack built on Microsoft Azure for maximum scalability, flexibility and security. Insights from the IQ Series help managers optimize maintenance planning, enhance safe operations, improve shipment planning events, and identify bottlenecks to streamline rail supply chains.”

The IQ Series™ gateway platform will provide Load Status from Motion (LSM) for loaded and empty mileage tracking without an external sensor, reported Amsted Digital, which noted that it is already working with Ermewa to upgrade existing Amsted Digital systems with this feature “over-the-air.” Future projects for the IQ Series will focus on monitoring component health including brakes and wheelsets, according to Amsted Digital.

“Through a simple FOTA, IQ Series can activate our Bogie IQ features, which include real-time monitoring of wheel flats and the ability to identify operational issues related to brake systems without the need for multiple sensors,” Amsted Digital Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brad Myers pointed out.

Ermewa first contracted with Amsted Digital in September 2018 for an end-to-end telematics platform.

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