The System Integration Innovation Centre will take data from the two test rigs and link it to a suite of labs that will allow researchers to investigate the whole system.
The research will have seven main focus areas, allowing academics from different disciplines to work together:
System integration and optimisation
Identifying how existing networks work, and looking at forward and backward compatibility of processes and technologies to allow efficient system integration.
Existing and future rail systems
Examining the research and development challenges to long term performance of the infrastructure and how it interacts with the rolling stock.
Robotics and mechatronics
Looking at the application of robotic and mechatronic systems to the railway environment and rolling stock, including autonomous inspection technology.
Internet of trains: digital railways
Researching efficient and intelligent use of data and customer management. This includes legacy systems as well as new communication, (eg 5G and cloud computing) and traffic management technologies.
Vehicle dynamics and tribology
Researching core elements of railways in the fields of tribology and vehicle dynamics. The theme will also look at the interaction of vehicles with the overhead line (catenary) systems.
Developing tools that provide a framework for understanding vulnerabilities, through a system level approach. Identifying and mitigating soft-spots that can trigger cascade system level failures.
Improving understanding of the economics of rail transport supply and demand, and the economic value of technical innovation and investment. This will be achieved through combining engineering and economics, to make improvements in social welfare.
Research into signalling and command and control will be led by Professor Ronghui Liu from the Institute of Transport Studies. Professor Liu has extensive experience in automatic train operation and digital railway systems such as the European Rail Traffic Management System.
Digital systems research will be led by Dr Andy Kemp and his team from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. They have extensive experience in railway communications including enabling technologies for the Internet of Trains (including 5G and machine to machine communications).