FRACTAL project

CAF Signalling is involved in different research projects related to Computer Vision (CV) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhanced systems develop in order to reach a higher autonomy in urban vehicles and align them with railway European normative. However, as many companies across the sector, CAF Signalling is facing up different computational capabilities challenges for CV&AI-enhanced autonomous train operation which needs real-time & safety-critical computing platforms for correct performance.

The future of CV&AI breakthroughs in railway sector will require large arrays of memory devices at the same accuracy as a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU)-based system, hardware accelerators and new platforms. These achievements will expand the scale of CV&AI processing-calculations making them larger and faster (this means energy-efficiency must improve dramatically).

FRACTAL project

The EU-funded FRACTAL project is developing a computing node on which to base a cognitive fractal network capable of learning from and responding to its environment. It will support seamless, fast and reliable interaction between the physical world and the cloud for applications ranging from self-driving cars to remote medical procedures. The objective of this research activity is to create a reliable computing node that will create a Cognitive Edge under industry standards. This computing node will be the building block of scalable Internet of Things (from Low Computing to High Computing Edge Nodes). The cognitive skill will be given by an internal and external architecture that allows to forecast its internal performance and the state of the surrounding world. Hence, this node will have the capability of learning how to improve its performance against the uncertainty of the environment.

As a result of the integration of these cognitive systems into a fractal network, there will be another intrinsic crucial advantage, emergency and adaptability, new functions will flourish through the created space of possibilities of our cognitive Systems. This complex network will transfer all those cognitive advantages to the Edge, a computing paradigm that lay down between the physical world and the cloud.

VERSAL nodes

The high node performance (VERSAL), which includes a multicore platform with HW support for safety and AI acceleration features, and that will be developed and prototyped in FRACTAL, seems a perfect hardware substrate to meet the challenging requirements of autonomous train operations. CAF Signalling will use the FRACTAL approach on AI-enabled computing platforms to execute some functionalities developed in CV&AI field for autonomous train operation.

More precisely

  1. Automatic platform detection,
  2. Automatic accurate stop at platforms, and
  3. Safe passenger transfer.

FRACTAL project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 877056