SIFER – Feedback about the 11th International Exhibition of Railway technology

What is SIFER?

SIFER is a yearly international event which took place at Lille dedicated to the rail industry. It is a meeting place bringing manufacturers and suppliers of this industry, such as:

  • Passenger and freight rolling stock
  • Track and infrastructure
  • On-board comfort
  • Fare collection technology and products
  • Passenger information
  • Signaling and train control systems and equipments

Capgemini presented one of the numerous keynotes that were a feature inside SIFER. This keynote is about Virtual Reality and the Augmented Reality at the service of the verification and the validation of systems.

Capgemini and ALSTOM Transport have a technological partnership of co-innovation which started 3 years ago at Aix-en-Provence, France. Through this partnership, we developed Virtual Train, a 3D application bringing to ALSTOM Transport testers team a way to easily find any information of their test framework all immersed inside a procedurally-generated environment using ALSTOM Transport’s input data. We also developed Virtual Design, a solution helping all core business along the design cycle of an ALSTOM Transport vehicle as CAD designers, ergonomists, marketers, or end customers through a VR immersion.

The first topic of the keynote: virtualizing ALSTOM’s physical test environment through Virtual Train

The application also gives feedback about the actions made by the testers to verify and validate newly produced ALSTOM Transport equipment: doors activation/deactivation, setting the train in motion, turning headlights on/off and so on. This feedback was initially given through an hard to read interface. Each value was read from an array representing the whole data being simulated. Now this data is represented with a 3D simulator in which testers can visually notice the changes: the train now moves according to its simulated speed or the opening doors states match the values inside the test framework. Testers are now able to conclude faster about the validation status of the scenario being played and to play more complex scenario since its visualization is easy to understand as of today. Virtual Train is about to be deployed on Microsoft Hololens so ALSTOM Transport will not be restricted to this 3D solution on test benches: the Microsoft Hololens will be synchronized to the test framework as well and display information about physical or simulated equipment already mounted inside the train in the ALSTOM Transport factory.

Using Virtual Design to mix core business involved in the conception of the ALSTOM Transport vehicles

Virtual Design is a generic framework converting any CAD models into VR-ready models, so it allows VR immersion inside of them. Immersed users can communicate with each other and collaborate inside the imported model. They have at their disposal a panel of items related to the model they imported: regarding the tramway immersion, users can place different seats, bars, ticket terminals…

The main strength of Virtual Design lies in the generalization of its features. Virtual Design is a framework designed for importing any CAO model to be immersed in but also importing dynamically models to be placed inside the VR scene. We can also create rules which notices the user when violated: one of the first rule we implemented concerns the ergonomists: the user is warned whenever the distance between two elements within the VR scene does not allow a wheelchair to pass easily.

SIFER Innovation Awards 2019

The SIFER is also a place where we can get in touch with the latest innovation in the rail industry. Thus, the SIFER awards trophies in 3 distinct categories:

  • Big businesses
  • SMEs
  • Favorite innovation of the jury

It is a real pride for Capgemini to have a prize in the field “Big Business” with the application “Virtual Train”. There were 36 competitors for this award. This trophy rewards our partnership with ALSTOM and the mutual trust to apply innovation in the rail industry.

Winning this award provides us the opportunity to participate in a bigger event involving the rail industry in Europe.

Jordan Hoareau

About

I entered SOGETI High Tech in Aix-en-Provence premises two years ago as an intern. During my internship, I had the opportunity to develop one of the first successful 3D application locally used by the client. By the end of this internship I was proposed a permanent contract as AR/VR developer. I was then involved in our very first AR/VR projects at Aix-en-Provence, but I also lent a hand to Toulouse AR/VR team. I also intervened in pre-sales activities as a technical referee for such projects. I continued my work in 2018 as a technical leader for one of our VR frameworks developed locally and for others AR/VR projects which started this year.

More on Jordan Hoareau.

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