Residents of Turkey's most populous city Istanbul will soon enjoy a driverless metro infrastructure that will be developed by Turkish engineers.
To be developed entirely with local means, the infrastructure will be commissioned in 2021.
Currently, more than 100 research and development (R&D) engineers are working on the DriverlessMetro Signalization System Development Project, launched last year by Metro Istanbul AŞ., responsible for the operation and maintenance of Istanbul rail systems, in conjunction with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) Informatics and Information Security Research Center (BİLGEM) and one of the country's leading defense and electronic systems company ASELSAN.
Under the project, Communication Based Metro Signalization Technology, owned by only five or six companies in the world, will be developed entirely with national means.
The signaling system is expected to provide high sales potential in the domestic market primarily as an advanced technological product that meets operational needs at a high level.
With the government's aim to put a 1,023 kilometers-long-subway network in Istanbul, as part of Turkey's 2023 vision, which entails the accomplishment of mega projects, the dependency on foreign signaling systems which are an integral part of 5,000 metro vehicle investments will be eliminated.
In this context, design teams are in talks with the decision-makers for the Gayrettepe-Istanbul Airport-Halkalı Metro, Gebze-Darıca Metro, Buca Metro, ANKARAY, Ankara Airport Metro and Konya Metro, while required information is being provided along with the benefits of a national solution.
Costs in metro vehicles and signaling systems are calculated in the long term. For example, total life cost is generated by adding costs such as initial purchase cost, energy consumption, breakdown, maintenance and spare parts expenses after 30 years of operation. For this reason, in metro investments, besides for the initial purchase cost, a total of 30 years of logistic support cost items with energy consumption from other cost items should be included in the evaluations.
COSTS CAN BE REDUCED
Reducing energy consumption is provided by efficient vehicle traction systems, regenerative braking and driverless signaling systems, while integrated logistics support needs to be solved only through national design and domestic production.
Metro vehicles are now being controlled autonomously by a new generation of communication-based signaling systems, which in turn reduces costs while making safer and more efficient operations.
Different types of vehicles and signaling systems in the Istanbul metro line can create some problems during operations. Incompatible spare parts also increase inventory costs as well as lead times and require experienced staff. Standardization of the Istanbul metro lines can be quite instrumental in the solution of this problem.
In both vehicle types and signaling systems, if specifications are prepared according to common requirements and the national signaling system solution is created, standardization can be achieved and life cost can be reduced.
The development of national signaling by Metro İstanbul and ASELSAN dates back three years.
As a result of the work carried out, a protocol was inked last year, followed by the signing of the National Driverless Signaling Improvement Contract earlier this year within the scope of the modernization of the M1 line the Yenikapı–Atatürk Airport/Kirazlı metro line.
Under the agreement, work was initiated with Turkey's leading institutions and organizations. Metro İstanbul, TÜBİTAK BİLGEM and ASELSAN joined forces to develop and certify the driverless subway signaling system for the first time in Turkey.
Within the framework of Communication Based Metro Signalization Project, three basic technologies, namely Onboard Train Control and Protection System, Traffic Control Center and Line-Length Train Control System, are being developed.
ASELSAN is carrying out system engineering activities as the project technical manager. In this context, the company is working on On-Board Train Control and Protection System. Metro Istanbul is involved in the development of the Traffic Control Center, while TÜBİTAK BİLGEM takes part in the development of the Line-Length Train Control System.
The jointly developed project will be carried out in three stages. In the first stage, it is aimed to test the developed software in the simulation environment. The second phase involves the testing of the software on hardware that will be developed at the SIL-4 security level. In the third stage the aim is to validate the developed systems with real hardware and software on two subway train sets and complete the project.
As the requirements of the system are completed, the system design process continues.
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