Research and development

Research and development expense taken directly to profit and loss for the six months ended 30 June 2014 totalled €15.3 million (€16.0 million in the same period of the previous year), against grants approximating €1.6 million (€1.6 million in the same period of the previous year).
Key activities of the period are described below.
The following financed projects are underway:

  • with respect to rail transportation energy efficiency projects: the SFERE project funded by the Ministry for Research studies the benefits of using ground-based supercapacitators in tram systems; the OSIRIS project funded by the European Commission studies solutions using low-enthalpy resources to reduce the consumption of auxiliary systems and the MERLIN project designs power supply architecture and software to optimise main line energy flows. The Thesys Rail project was launched in 2014 to define strategies to optimise railway traffic.
  • SICURFER - development and piloting of technologies to monitor railway infrastructures in order to raise safety and security levels. Activities commenced in 2012 and are expected to be completed in early 2015.
  • DIGITAL PATTERN DEVELOPMENT - a project coordinated by FIAT for the development of simulation systems used in the design and production of road and rail transport systems and components. Activities commenced in early 2012 and are expected to be completed in early 2015.
  • VERO (Virtual Engineering for Railways and automotive) - supporting the construction of simulators to determine the optimal size of signalling systems. The project started in late 2013 and will continue throughout 2014 and 2015.

As part of the activities of the Ligurian District on Research in collaboration with the Ministry for University and Research (MUR), the Plug-in project was approved and is eligible for financing. The project provides for the design and development of an urban mobility platform to manage multi-source information, in order to determine current traffic, provide a reliable estimate of its development in the medium/short-term, define possible strategic actions in case of congestion and provide users with real time collective or customised information. Ansaldo STS is involved in the architectural and functional definition of the system and of multi-source traffic data.

EU-funded projects include those related to infrastructure monitoring (RESTRAIL and MAXBE), safety (CESAR and EXCROSS) and security (PROTECTRAIL and SECUR-ED). The NGTC project’s aim is to develop future rail and urban traffic control systems. Ansaldo STS participates in all project work packages and, specifically, is a leader in those related to satellite positioning.
Activities relate to the MBAT project funded by the Artemis JV (a public-private body that grants European Commission funding for the innovation of embedded systems) and the Ministry for Research continued. Its scope is to study and test the tools to develop embedded systems with a view to greater rail system safety and availability.
In 2014, activities continued for the 3InSat project, including the development of a system for satellite localisation, collection and analysis of experimental data using devices on two locomotives and three ground reference stations (Pontremolese), testing a new TLC system based on the use of public networks (GSM-Satellite) in Sardinia and subsequent testing of the integrated system (satellite localisation and public and satellite telecommunications).

Development activities also took place on the following projects which do not receive external funding:
Standard RBC/ERTMS
Standard BALISE, Reduced-size BALISE
BALISE (FIXED)
SIGNAL ENCODER
ON BOARD
CBTC
INTERLOCKING (ACC and Microlok)
UNIVERSAL TRACK CIRCUIT (EVO)

Research and development expense net of grants are as follows for the group companies:

  • Ansaldo STS S.p.A.: €6.5 million;
  • Ansaldo STS France S.A.S.: €5.0 million;
  • Ansaldo STS USA Inc.: €2.2 million.

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