Product quality and digitalization


Artificial intelligence in rail operations

We are further expanding the use of artificial intelligence (AI):

  • On the Stuttgart S-Bahn (metro), AI helps the dispatcher to manage traffic as efficiently as possible in the event of a disruption. This ensures that more trains are on time and busy routes are kept free from congestion. We have developed the AI tool ourselves and will use it on other S-Bahn (metro) networks.
  • AI is also proving to be increasingly effective in maintenance. AI automatically detects and reports damage to an ICE train. We will use this technology at several ICE depots in the future. Preliminary tests are also underway for regional and freight trains.

AI is a key tool for improving punctuality. The first tests on the Stuttgart S-Bahn (metro) increased punctuality by up to three percentage points when a disruption occurred. In larger transport networks, it is even possible to achieve double-­digit increases in punctuality rates. In addition, existing rail capacities can be used even more efficiently, enabling more vehicles to be used and to be operated more frequently.

Digital S-Bahn (metro) Hamburg project wins mobility award

The Digital S-Bahn (metro) Hamburg project received the 2021 German Mobility Award. Together with Siemens Mobility, the DB Group team are putting Germany’s first highly automated S-Bahn (metro) vehicles into service. In cooperation with the City of Hamburg, four of the city’s S-Bahn (metro) trains are scheduled to start operating with digital control and with passengers on board from October 2021. The € 60 ­million project costs are being shared by the three parties involved.

New agreement on digital cooperation

Four years after DB Group and the French state-owned railway SNCF began cooperating on digitalization, further actions were agreed covering seven areas where the two parties are looking to push ahead with the automation of rail operations and boost the quality, attractiveness and performance capability of rail transport. The cooperation’s subject areas also include energy management and reducing carbon emissions. The aim is to speed up the integration of new solutions and meet the requirements of the European Green Deal.

Digitalization of seven regional lines

In cooperation with the German Railway Industry Association (Verband der Bahnindustrie in Deutschland e. V.; VDB), seven regional lines are being equipped with digital interlocking technology. This new technology replaces conventional systems of different construction types. By 2035 – five years earlier than previously planned – digital technologies are expected to be fully rolled out in Germany, which should make the environmentally friendly rail system even more efficient.

Thanks to a financing agreement with the Federal Government, additional funds for digital interlocking technology were made available at the beginning of December 2020.

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