Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
INTEGRATED TRAIN CONTROL AND DRIVER ADVISORY SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/157731
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) includes a control communication network (26) of a train (1), a train control unit (4), coupled to the control communication network and having an interface for the train driver for controlling an operation of the train, at least one component control unit (6, 8), such as a brake control unit, for controlling an operation of at least one train component, such as a brake, the at least one component control unit being coupled to the control communication network and the train control unit being configured to exchange control data with the at least one component control unit via the control communication network, a driver advisory module (24), coupled to the control communication network and configured to provide driving recommendations during the operation of the train, and an external data interface (10), coupled to the train control communication network and forming a gateway to an external data communication network (30), with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface.

Inventors:
MADARAS, Attila (Tizedes u. 5, 1024 Budapest, 1024, HU)
MATHE, Sandor (Podhorszky u. 101/A, 1188 Budapest, 1188, HU)
Application Number:
EP2017/055394
Publication Date:
September 21, 2017
Filing Date:
March 08, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KNORR-BREMSE SYSTEME FÜR SCHIENENFAHRZEUGE GMBH (Moosacher Str. 80, München, 80809, DE)
International Classes:
B61L27/04; B60T8/17; B60T13/66; B60T17/22
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014037549A22014-03-13
WO2012117068A12012-09-07
Other References:
None
Download PDF:
Claims:
PATENT CLAIMS

1 . Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2), comprising:

an on-board control communication network (26) of a train (1),

a train control unit (4), coupled to the control communication network and

comprising an interface for the train driver for controlling an operation of the train,

at least one component control unit (6, 8), such as a brake control unit, for controlling an operation of at least one train component, such as a brake, the at least one component control unit being coupled to the control communication network and the train control unit being configured to exchange control data with the at least one component control unit via the control communication network,

a driver advisory module (24), coupled to the control communication network and configured to provide driving recommendations during the operation of the train, and an external data interface (10), coupled to the train control communication network and forming a gateway to an external data communication network (30), with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface.

2. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to claim 1 , further comprising:

a navigation satellite system receiver (18), coupled to the control communication network (26) and being configured to provide train position data to the driver advisory module (24) via the control communication network. 3. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the control communication network (26) is a vehicle bus, in particular a CAN bus or a LIN bus.

4. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the external data interface (10) is a wireless data interface, in particular a wireless data interface in accordance with a mobile phone standard, such as GSM, UMTS and LTE.

5. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is integrated into a particular one of the at least one component control unit (6, 8), with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network (30) via the external data interface (10) and the control communication network (26).

6. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to claim 5, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is integrated into a brake control unit (6) or an engine control unit (8).

7. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of claims 1 to 4, further comprising an energy metering system (32) coupled to the control communication network (26), wherein the driver advisory module (24) is integrated into the energy metering system, with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network (30) via the external data interface (10) and the control communication network.

8. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is integrated into the external data interface (10).

9. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is comprised in a stand-alone driver advisory unit (22), with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network (30) via the external data interface (10) and the control communication network (26).

10. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of claims 5 to 9, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is configured to transmit the driving recommendations to an output device via the control communication network (26).

11. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is integrated into the train control unit (4), with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network (30) via the external data interface (10) and the control communication network (26). 12. Integrated train control and driver advisory system (2) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the driver advisory module (24) is a software module or a hardware module or a processor-based hardware module with at least one software program installed thereon. 13. Method of creating an integrated train control and driver advisory system (2), comprising the steps of:

providing a driver advisory module (24) configured to provide driving

recommendations during the operation of a train (1 );

coupling the driver advisory module to an on-board control communication network (26) of the train, to which a train control unit (4), at least one component control unit (6, 8), and an external data interface (10) are coupled; and

establishing data communication over the control communication network, with the driver advisory module receiving input data over the control communication network and/or transmitting the driving recommendations over the control communication network.

14. Method according to claim 13, wherein the control communication network (26) is a pre-installed control communication network and wherein the driver advisory module (24) is retrofitted into the train (1 ).

15. Method according to claim 13 or 14, wherein the external data interface (10) is configured to receive input data for the driver advisory module (24) from an external data communication network (30) and to transmit the input data for the driver advisory module to the driver advisory module via the control communication network (26).

Description:
DESCRIPTION

Integrated train control and driver advisory system The present invention is in the field of driver advisory systems for trains. In particular, the present invention relates to driver advisory systems that receive data from sources outside of the train.

Providing driver advisory systems in trains is highly desirable. Driver advisory systems can be of great help to the train driver in safely and efficiently operating the train. For example, a driver advisory system may provide the driver with the current velocity limit, a velocity recommendation for achieving an energy-efficient trip along a particular trip segment, etc. While driver advisory systems are generally desirable to have, their implementation is complex and involves a variety of components. For example, a common driver advisory system has a processor and an associated memory for determining appropriate driving recommendations as well as a display and/or loudspeaker for outputting the driving recommendations. In addition, common driver advisory systems are equipped with means for determining an actual position of the train, such as a GPS receiver, and an external data interface for receiving data about the trip segment to be driven, such as schedule data, velocity limits along the trip segment, etc. Such external data interface may be used to communicate with a control center or similar and may operate in a wireless manner. This high level of complexity often prevents driver advisory systems from being installed in trains. Accordingly, it would be beneficial to implement driver advisory systems in trains in a simplified manner. Also, it would be beneficial to provide a system that allows for a simplified implementation of a driver advisory system in a train.

Exemplary embodiments of the invention include an integrated train control and driver advisory system, comprising an on-board control communication network of a train, a train control unit, coupled to the control communication network and comprising an interface for the train driver for controlling an operation of the train, at least one component control unit for controlling an operation of at least one train component, the ^

at least one component control unit being coupled to the control communication network and the train control unit being configured to exchange control data with the at least one component control unit via the control communication network, a driver advisory module, coupled to the control communication network and configured to provide driving recommendations during the operation of the train, and an external data interface, coupled to the train control communication network and forming a gateway to an external data communication network, with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface.

Exemplary embodiments of the invention allow for an integrated system architecture that allows for a combined using of the same control communication network by the train control system and the driver advisory system. In this way, when viewing the train control system and the driver advisory system jointly as having a given scope of functionality, the hardware requirements can be greatly reduced as compared to prior approaches, where the train control system and the driver advisory system were separate systems. By coupling both the train control unit and the driver advisory module to the same control communication network of the train, various resources, such as the external data interface or a navigation satellite system receiver or outputting means, such as a display, can be shared among the train control system and the driver advisory system. Also, by using the same control communication network on-board the train, the number and extent of communication links on-board the train, such as communication cables, can be reduced. By using various components and communication links for both the train control system and the driver advisory system, the overall system complexity, weight and cost can be reduced. Train control functionality and driver advisory functionality can be embedded into a single, integrated system. Moreover, the provision of an integrated train control and driver advisory system allows for an easier retrofitting of existing train control systems with driver advisory functionality, as will be explained in detail below. .

The control communication network is a distributed communication network having multiple access nodes. In particular, the control communication network may be distributed over at least a portion of the train, for example it may be distributed over a locomotive of the train. In this way, various components that are distributed over the portion of the train in question can access the control communication network via the multiple access nodes. The control communication network may be a decentralized communication network, with the connected entities being allowed to initiate

communication out of their own motion. The control communication network may be operated in accordance with a suitable communication protocol. The communication protocol may control access to the control communication network in a way that the data transmission sources are shared in an appropriate manner between the connected entities.

The train control unit, the at least one component control unit, the driver advisory module, and the external data interface are coupled to the control communication network. In this capacity, these and potentially further elements coupled to the control communication network may be jointly referred to as the entities connected to the control communication network. The coupling may be implemented via access nodes that provide an interface between the control communication network and the entities described above. The access nodes may be addressable nodes, such that the entities can communicate with each other over the control communication network in a targeted manner. Each of the described entities may have its own access node. However, it is also possible that any given subset of said entities shares a common access node.

The train control unit is a high level control unit, relating to the driving behaviour of the train as a whole. In particular, the train control unit has an interface for the train driver, through which the train driver can control the high level behaviour of the train. For example, the train driver can set a level of acceleration / braking through the interface of the train control unit. In this way, the train control unit is the single point of contact for the train driver, with the control of the individual components, such as brakes and engines, being decoupled therefrom. As compared to the train control unit, the one or more component control units are configured to control individual train components, such as brakes and engines. For example, a component control unit may be a brake control unit or an engine control unit, adapted to control a brake or an engine of the train, respectively. The component control units receive control commands from the train control unit and control the operation of the associated train components. With the distributed control communication network being interposed between the train control unit and the one or more component control units, the train control unit and the one or more component control units can conveniently exchange control data and, potentially, status data over the control communication network despite their spatial separation within the train.

The driver advisory module is configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface. With the external data interface being coupled to the control communication network, both the driver advisory module as well as the train control unit are in a position to receive data from and, potentially, transmit data over the external data interface. In this way, a single external data interface may be accessed and jointly used by the train control unit and the driver advisory module. The requirement of prior approaches to have separate external data interfaces for the train control unit and the driver advisory module can be eliminated. It is possible that the driver advisory module is configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface and the control communication network. However, it is also possible that the driver advisory module is integrated into the external data interface and that the data is received by the driver advisory module directly from the external data interface without being transferred through the control communication network. In that case, the driving recommendations are transferred through the. control communication network to an output device.

Accordingly, at least one of data from the external communication network, intended for the driver advisory module, and driving recommendations, provided by the driver advisory module, are transferred through the control communication network. In other words, the control communication network, through which the train control unit and the one or more component control units communicate, is used by the driver advisory module for at least one of input data and output data. It is also possible that the driver advisory module is coupled to the control communication network in such a manner that it receives input data through the control communication network and transmits output data, such as driving recommendations, through the control communication network.

The input data received by the driver advisory module may comprise at least one of schedule data, trip data, and train data, as will be described in greater detail below. The integrated train control and driver advisory system architecture may allow the driver advisory module to communicate with other entities over the control communication network without interaction by the train control unit. In other words, the driver advisory module may be independent from the train control unit for interacting with the other entities coupled to the control communication network. In this way, the driver advisory module may be able to communicate with and use the functionality of other entities, such as the external data interface, on its own, despite the fact that the main purpose of these other entites may be the support of the train control unit. The driver advisory module may be an independent participant of the control communication network.

The driver advisory module may be configured to listen in on data communicated over the control communication network that is directed to another entity. In other words, the driver advisory module may be configured to listen in on data which is communicated over the control communication network and for which the driver advisory module is not the intended recipient. In particular, the driver advisory module may be configured to listen in on data communicated towards the train control unit. For example, it is possible that a train velocity detection unit, such as a sensor measuring the rotation speed of a train axle or a sensor measuring the rotation speed of a train engine, is configured to communicate data indicative of the train velocity to the train contol unit. By listening in on this communication, the driver advisory module may infere momentary information about the train velocity without having to cause additional traffic on the control communication network. In another example, it is also possible that the driver advisory module deduces the train position from train position data transmitted by a GPS receiver to the train control unit. In this way, not only the resources of the control communication network, but also the data transmitted over the control communication network are used efficiently for multiple purposes.

The driver advisory module is configured to provide driving recommendations to the driver of the train. In particular, the driver advisory module may generate and provide driving recommendations on the basis of one or more of the present position of the train, the present velocity of the train, schedule data for a trip segment, velocity limits along the trip segment, an altitude profile along the trip segment, energy consumption data, etc. For example, the driver advisory module may be configured to provide velocity recommendations and/or acceleration / braking recommendations to the driver of the train on the basis of the schedule data for the trip segment and the velocity limits along the trip segment. It is also possible that the driver advisory module is configured to provide velocity recommendations and/or acceleration / braking recommendations in accordance with an energy-optimized velocity profile along the trip segment. The energy-optimized velocity profile may be the velocity profile along the trip segment that minimizes energy consumption, constrained by the velocity limits along the trip segment and maximum allowable deviations from the train schedule. The energy-optimized velocity profile may be determined by additionally taking various factors into account, such as the altitude profile along the trip segment and the dynamic behavior

characteristics of the train. The dynamic behavior characteristics may be the energy consumption for a given acceleration, the energy recuperation for a given braking, in case electrodynamic brakes are used, the maximum acceleration and braking capacities of the train, etc.

According to a further embodiment, the integrated train control and driver advisory system comprises a navigation satellite system receiver, coupled to the control communication network and being configured to provide train position data to the driver advisory module via the control communication network. In this way, the driver advisory module can make use of the control communication network for receiving train position data. The need of prior driver advisory systems to be equipped with a separate navigation satellite system receiver is thus eliminated. The output of the navigation satellite system receiver can be used by both the train control unit and the driver advisory module. Also, the same means of communication, namely the control communication network, may be used for the distribution of the train position data to the train control unit and the driver advisory module. The navigation satellite system may be the Global Positioning System (GPS). The navigation satellite system receiver may be a GPS receiver.

According to a further embodiment, the control communication network is a vehicle bus. A vehicle bus is an efficient means of implementing the control communication network. Vehicle buses may have various favorable operating characteristics, such as assurance of message delivery, non-conflicting messages, minimum time of delivery, redundant routing, etc. Also, vehicle buses are readily available components that allow for an implementation of the control communication network with fairly low complexity. The vehicle bus may have a plurality of access points, also referred to as access nodes, to which the train control unit, the at least one component control unit, the driver advisory module, and the external data interface may be coupled. These access nodes may have equal bus access rights, such that the communication over the vehicle bus may be carried out in a decentralized manner. The driver advisory module may thus

communicate with the other connected entities out of its own motion. The vehicle bus may be configured to operate according to a suitable communication protocol. In particular, the vehicle bus may be a Controller Area Network (CAN) bus or a Local Interconnect Network (LIN) bus.

According to a further embodiment, the external data interface is a wireless data interface. In this way, both the train control unit and the driver advisory module may communicate with a wayside external data communication network in a convenient manner. When the train is located in a train station, no wired connection between the control communication network and external data sources has to be established. The control communication network and its associated entities can communicate with external data sources, such as a train operator control center, in a wireless manner. Also, the control communication network and its associated entities may be able to communication with the external data communication network during operation of the train, i.e. when the train is in motion in between train stations. The train control unit and the driver advisory module. can thus be provided with current information, such as current weather information, schedule changes, track problems, etc., in a real-time manner. The wireless data interface may be configured to operate in accordance with a mobile phone standard. For example, the wireless data interface may be a GSM, UMTS or LTE interface. According to a further embodiment, the driver advisory module is integrated into a particular one of the at least one component control unit, with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface and the control communication network. For example, the driver advisory module may be integrated into a brake control unit or an engine control unit. By integrating the driver advisory module into a particular component control unit, no extra space is required for the driver advisory module. Also, the driver advisory module may be a software program. In that case, this software program may be installed on the particular component control unit and the computing power of the particular component control unit may be employed for running the driver advisory module software. In this way, the driver advisory module may be conveniently installed into an existing hardware component and no extra hardware is to be provided. The driver advisory module and the particular component control unit may share a common access node to the control communication network. It is also possible that the driver advisory module is a hardware module, in particular a processor-based hardware module, and is installed into the particular component control unit. For example, the driver advisory module may be integrated into the particular component control unit as an additional CPU card in a rack system. The driver advisory module and the particular component control unit may then share a common access node to the control communication network or may have separate access nodes. When integrated into a particular component control unit, the driver advisory module may be configured to receive train position data, such as GPS data, from the navigation satellite system receiver over the control communication network.

According to a further embodiment, the integrated train control and driver advisory system further comprises an energy metering system coupled to the control

communication network, wherein the driver advisory module is integrated into the energy metering system, with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface and the control communication network. The effects regarding space efficiency and usage of readily available computing power, as described above with respect to the integration of the driver advisory module into a component control unit, apply to the integration into the energy metering system in an analogous manner. Also, the implementation via software or hardware and the coupling to the control communication network via one or two access nodes, as described above with respect to the integration of the driver advisory module into a component control unit, are analogously possible in the framework of the energy metering system. Further, the driver advisory module may be configured to receive train position data, such as GPS data, from the navigation satellite system receiver over the control communication network.

According to a further embodiment, the driver advisory module is integrated into the external data interface. In particular, the external data interface may comprise a data receiver and a communication gateway, with the driver advisory module being integrated into the communication gateway. The effects regarding space efficiency and usage of readily available computing power, as described above with respect to the integration of the driver advisory module into a component control unit, apply to the integration into the external data interface in an analogous manner. Also, the

implementation via software or hardware and the coupling to the control communication network via one or two access nodes, as described above with respect to the integration of the driver advisory module into a component control unit, are analogously possible in the framework of the external data interface. Further, the data from the external data communication network can be immediately provided to the driver advisory module. No communication resources on the control communication network have to be spent on the data exchange between the driver advisory module and the external data

communication network. Further, the driver advisory module may be configured to receive train position data, such as GPS data, from the navigation satellite system receiver over the control communication network.

According to a further embodiment, the driver advisory module is comprised in a standalone driver advisory unit, with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface and the control communication network. As a stand-alone component, the driver advisory unit may have its own access node to the control communication network. The driver advisory unit may be configured to solely generate driver recommendations from suitable input data. It may be free of other control functions or communication functions. The stand-alone driver advisory unit may be integrated into the train control and driver advisory system in a very conventient manner, because no immediate interaction with the other connected entities has to be configured. It solely is to be ensured that the driver advisory unit communicates over the control communication network in

accordance with the implemented communication protocol. The driver advisory unit may have a suitable output device, such as a display or a loudspeaker, for outputting the driving recommendations to the driver of the train. In this way, the output of the driving recommendations may be taken care of by the driver advisory unit, and the driving recommendations are not transmitted to a suitable output device via the control communication network. However, it is also possible that the driving recommendations are transmitted via the control communication network for being output to the driver by another entity coupled to the control communication network. Further, the driver advisory module, comprised in the stand-alone driver advisory unit, may be configured to receive train position data, such as GPS data, from the navigation satellite system receiver over the control communication network.

According to a further embodiment, the driver advisory module is configured to transmit the driving recommendations to an output device via the control communication network. The output device may be a display or a loudspeaker or a combined display and loudspeaker system. The output device may be a stand-alone output device, coupled to the control communication network and having its own access node. It is also possible that the output device is integrated into the train control unit, i.e. that the output functionality of the train control unit is additionally used for outputting the driving recommendations.

According to a further embodiment, the driver advisory module is integrated into the train control unit, with the driver advisory module being configured to receive data from the external data communication network via the external data interface and the control communication network. The effects regarding space efficiency and usage of readily available computing power, as described above with respect to the integration of the driver advisory module into a component control unit, apply to the integration into the train control unit in an analogous manner. Also, the implementation via software or hardware and the coupling to the control communication network via one or two access nodes, as described above with respect to the integration of the driver advisory module into a component control unit, are analogously possible in the framework of integration into the train control unit. Further, the driver advisory module may be configured to receive train position data, such as GPS data, from the navigation satellite system receiver over the control communication network. Λ Λ

1 1

According to a further embodiment, the driver advisory module is a software module or a hardware module or a processor-based hardware module with at least one software program installed thereon. In other words, the driver advisory module may be a pure software module or a pure hardware module, such as an application specific integrated circuit, or a processor-based hardware module that has a software program for generating the driving recommendations.

Exemplary embodiments of the invention further include a method of creating an integrated train control and driver advisory system, comprising the steps of providing a driver advisory module configured to provide driving recommendations during the operation of a train; coupling the driver advisory module to an on-board control communication network of the train, to which a train control unit, at least one component control unit, and an external data interface are coupled; and establishing data

communication over the control communication network, with the driver advisory module receiving input data over the control communication network and/or transmitting the driving recommendations over the control communication network. The additional features, modifications, and effects, described above with respect to the integrated train control and driver advisory system, apply to the method of creating an integrated train control and driver advisory system in an analogous manner. Method steps,

corresponding to the apparatus features described above, are explicitly disclosed herewith.

By providing the driver advisory module and coupling the driver advisory module to the control communication network of the train, the communication functionality of the train communication network is used for both control purposes and driver advisory purposes. The control system and the driver advisory system of the train can be implemented in a very space-efficient and resource-efficient manner. The control system and the driver advisory system may share the functionality of various entities coupled to the control communication network. The driver advisory module may use the control

communication network for receiving input data or for transmitting driving

recommendations to a suitable output device of for both receiving input data and transmitting driving recommendations. The term establishing data communication over the control communication network refers to the establishing of data communication functionality, i.e. it refers to the process of setting up the control communication network during the assembly / manufacture, with the actual data communication taking place at a later point in time during operation of the train.

According to a further embodiment, the control communication network is a pre-installed control communication network and the driver advisory module is retrofitted into the train. In other words, the driver advisory module may be added to an existing control system of a train, with the control communication network, which was previously only used in the context of train control, being altered into a dual-purpose communication network. In this way, existing control systems can be conveniently extended into integrated train control and driver advisory systems. Such retrofitting keeps the number of additional components / modules to be integrated into the system low, can be performed in short amounts of time, and the associated assembly / maintenance efforts are comparably low.

According to a further embodiment, the external data interface is configured to receive input data for the driver advisory module from an external data communication network and to transmit the input data for the driver advisory module to the driver advisory module via the control communication network. It is additionally / alternatively possible that the integrated train control and driver advisory system comprises a navigation satellite system receiver, which is configured to determine train position data and to transmit the train position data to the driver advisory module via the control

communication network. In this way, the driver advisory module may be provided with data suitable for determining the driving recommendations. The input data from the external data communication network may be schedule data, trip data, data about the dynamic behavior characteristics of the train, etc., as described above.

Further exemplary embodiments of the invention are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying figures. Fig. 1 shows an integrated train control and driver advisory system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, installed in an exemplary train.

Fig. 2 shows integrated train control and driver advisory systems in accordance with further exemplary embodiments of the invention.

Fig. 3 shows an integrated train control and driver advisory system in accordance with yet another exemplary embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 1 shows an integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 is installed in a train 1 , i.e. it is an on-board integrated train control and driver advisory system 2. For ease of illustration, the train 1 is shown to consist of a single locomotive, which is depicted in Fig. 1. However, the train may have any number of locomotives and wagons, such as passenger wagons and freight wagons. The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 may extend over a single locomotive, as shown in Fig. 1 , or may extend over multiple locomotives and/or wagons of the train.

The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 has a train control unit 4. The train control unit 4 has input means that allow the train driver to control the train. The train control unit 4 also has output means that allow feedback to the train driver. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 1 , the train control unit 4 has a display 40 that allows the output of feedback to the train driver. For example, the momentary velocity of the train 1 may be output to the train driver via the display 40.

The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 has two brake control units 6. The brake control units 6 are each associated with and control a respective set of brakes. The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 further has two engine control units 8. The engine control units 8 are each associated with and control a respective engine, such as an electric motor that is supplied with electric energy from the power supply line. In operation, data exchange between the train control unit 4 and the brake control units 6 / engine control units 8 takes place. The train control unit 4 issues high level control commands, according to which the brake control units 6 and the engine control units 8 control their associated brakes / engines. The brake control units 6 and the engine control units 8 are exemplary component control units.

The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 further has an external data interface 10. The external data interface 10 comprises a data receiver 12 and a communication gateway 14. The external data interface 10 is configured to exchange data over an external data communication network 30. In particular, the external data interface 10 is configured to exchange data with an external computer system 16 over a wireless data communication network, such as over a GSM or UMTS or LTE mobile phone network. The external computer system 16 may be a train operator control center, through which a plurality of trains is concurrently controlled.

The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 has a navigation satellite system receiver 18. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 1 , the navigation satellite system receiver 18 is a GPS receiver. In operation, the GPS receiver 18 receives data from a plurality of navigation satellites 20, on the basis of which the momentary position of the train 1 can be determined.

The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 further has a driver advisory unit 22. The driver advisory unit 22 has a driver advisory module 24, which is configured to determine driving recommendations on the basis of various input data, as will be explained below. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 1 , the driver advisory module 24 is a software program that is in operation run on the driver advisory unit 22, which may be a processor-based computer. It is also possible that the driver advisory module 24 is a processor-based hardware module, which has suitable software installed thereon. In that case, the driver advisory unit 22 only provides the framework for the driver advisory module 24, such as by providing suitable data interfaces for communicating data. In either case, the driver advisory unit 22 is a stand-alone entity that is capable of determining driving recommendations from suitable input data, without relying on additional system components. The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 has an energy metering system 32. The energy metering system may be coupled to the power supply circuitry of the train 1 and may sense the power supplied to and consumed by the train 1. The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 further has a control communication network 26. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 1 , the control communication network 26 is a CAN bus. It is also possible that the control

communication network 26 is a LIN bus or another kind of vehicle bus or any other kind of suitable communication network.

The train control unit 4, the brake control units 6, the engine control units 8, the external data interface 10, the navigation satellite system receiver 18, the energy metering system 32, and the driver advisory unit 22 are coupled to the CAN bus 26 via access nodes 28. In this way, the train control unit 4, the brake control units 6, the engine control units 8, the external data interface 10, the navigation satellite system receiver 18, the energy metering system 32, and the driver advisory unit 22 are in a position to exchange data over the CAN bus 26 and are thus referred to as entities coupled to the control communication network 26. The CAN bus 26 extends over the train 1 , i.e. over the single locomotive shown, and physically passes by all of the entities described above. In this way, data communication between the connected entities is facilitated.

The operation of the integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 is now described for the operation of the train 1 along a given trip segment, such as along a trip segment between two train stations. The train driver interacts with the train control unit 4 for controlling the operation of the train. On the basis of the train driver's commands, the train control unit 4 issues respective commands to the brake control units 6 and the engine control units 8 and transmits messages cotaining these commands over the CAN bus 26. Upon receiving these messages, the brake control units 6 and the engine control units 8 control the associated brakes / engines accordingly, such that the train as a whole reacts to the train driver commands in an appropriate manner.

Before starting the journey along the trip segment, schedule data, trip data and train data is transmitted from the train operator control center 16 to the external data interface 10. The schedule data may contain the scheduled time for the trip segment and maximum allowable deviations therefrom. The trip data may contain information about the length of the trip segment, the altitude profile along the trip segment, and the velocity limits along the trip segment. The train data may contain information about the dynamic behavior characteristics of the train, such as maximum acceleration / braking capabilities, energy consumption as a function of train acceleration, energy recuperation as a function of tain braking, etc. The train data may be transmitted as high level values. It is also possible that basic physical properties of the train, such as weight, number of wagons, kinds of engines, kinds of brakes, etc. are transmitted, from which the dynamic behavior of the train can be calculated. The schedule data, trip data and train data are received by the external data interface 10 and are transmitted to the driver advisory module 24 via the control communication network 26. The driver advisory module 24 calculates an energy-optimized velocity profile along the trip segment on the basis of the schedule data, the trip data and the train data in accordance with per se known procedures.

During the journey of the train 1 along the trip segment, GPS data about the train position are transmitted from the GPS receiver 18 to the driver advisory module 24. On the basis of the momentary position of the train 1 and the calculated energy-optimized velocity profile, the driver advisory module determines driving recommendations. The driving recommendations may be specific velocity recommendations or may be acceleration / braking recommendations or a combination thereof. The driver advisory module 24 transmits the driving recommendations to the train control unit 4 over the CAN bus 26. The train control unit 4 outputs these driving recommendations to the train driver via the display 40. It is also possible that the driver advisory unit 22 has its own display and that the driving recommendations are output to the train driver via the display of the driver advisory unit 22.

The train control unit 4 may also receive the GPS data from the GPS receiver 18 during operation, e.g. for determining the momentary velocity of the train 1. Also, the train control unit 4 may receive messages from the train operator control center 16 via the external data communication network 30 and the CAN bus 26. For example, the train operator control center 16 may send messages to the train control unit 4 about obstacles along the track, about the momentary state of the signal boxes along the way, about schedule changes, etc. These messages are also routed via the external data communication network 30, the external data interface 10, and the control

communication network 26.

In this way, the driver advisory module 24 and the train control unit 4 share the control communication network 26 for communication purposes. Also, the driver advisory module 24 and the train control unit 4 may both rely on receiving data from the GPS receiver 18 and the external data communication interface 10. An integrated train control and driver advisory system with low hardware requirements and joint usage of communication resources is established.

Fig. 2 shows various integrated train control and driver advisory systems 2 in

accordance with further exemplary embodiments of the invention. The integrated train control and driver advisory systems 2 are similar to the integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 of Fig. 1 and have many identical elements. Reference is made to the description of these elements in the context of Fig. 1.

The integrated train control and driver advisory systems 2 of Fig. 2 differ from the integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 of Fig. 1 in that no stand-alone driver advisory unit is provided. Rather, the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into other entities connected to the control communication network. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 2a, the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into one of the brake control units 6. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 2b, the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into the energy metering system 32. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 2c, the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into the external data interface 10, in particular into the data gateway 14 of the external data interface 10.

In the integrated train control and driver advisory systems 2 of Figs. 2a, 2b and 2c, the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into an entity of the integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 that primarily has other functions than providing driving recommendations. In each case, the respective entity comprising the driver advisory module 24 is a dual-purpose entity, providing the driving recommendations on the one hand and performing another function on the other hand. The existing computing power of the brake control unit 6, the energy metering system 32 or the external data interface 10 may additionally be used for providing the driver advisory system functionality, e.g. by running a software program embodying the driver advisory module 24. It is also possible that a CPU card embodying the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into the brake control unit 6, the energy metering system 32 or the external data interface 10, e.g. when embodied as a rack system.

In the exemplary embodiments of Fig. 2, the driver advisory module 24 shares a common access node with the brake control unit 6, the energy metering system 32 or the external data interface 10, respectively. However, it is also possible that two separate access nodes are provided. In this way, the driver advisory module 24 may be individually addressable over the control communication network 26. In each of the embodiments of Fig. 2, the driver advisory module transmits the driving recommendations over the control communication network to the train control unit 4 for being output via the display 40.

Fig. 3 shows an integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 in accordance with yet another exemplary embodiment of the invention. The integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 is similar to the integrated train control and driver advisory system 2 of Fig. 1 and has many identical elements. Reference is made to the description of these elements in the context of Fig. 1. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 3, the driver advisory module 24 is integrated into the train control unit 4. While the driver advisory module 24 receives its input data over the control communication network 26, the driving recommendations are immediately output via the display 40 of the train control unit 4, without being transmitted via the control communication network 26.

While the invention has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teaching of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.

LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

1 Train

2 Integrated train control and driver advisory system

4 Train control unit

6 Brake control unit

8 Engine control unit

10 External data interface

12 Data receiver

14 Communication gateway

16 External computer system

18 Navigation satellite system receiver

20 Navigation satellite

22 Driver advisory unit

24 Driver advisory module

26 Control communication network

28 Access node

30 External data communication network

32 Energy metering system