The Škoda Group is also engaged in the future of smart cities, innovations in diagnostics, systems, automated driving and other projects.
The Škoda Digital Group’s development centre has developed its own predictive diagnostics system, PREMIS, which will be able to be deployed across all Škoda Group projects as well as for customers outside the Group. Nowadays, condition-based maintenance is a frequently mentioned topic in the maintenance world. PREMIS enables this type of maintenance and thus contributes to reducing the life cycle costs of the maintained vehicle, as the units and assemblies equipped with scanners and sensors no longer have to be repeatedly opened and checked during the now standard preventive maintenance at predefined intervals.
Combined with the analytical part of the system, we can then talk about predictive vehicle maintenance, where machine learning and other tools can be used to predict the need to replace parts or reach the wear limit, and only perform effective maintenance interventions at times when it is optimal and safe.
It is a sophisticated online diagnostic system that can be deployed on both new and serviced or upgraded vehicles. It also unifies the diagnostic system across all projects or vehicles and can replace older systems such as DataRail Legasy, IRDS, ASTRID, etc. The system provides higher security for diagnostic systems as one of the important improvement elements.
The data provided by PREMIS may not only be used for maintenance optimisation, but it can also be used to verify the reliability and parameters of RAMS. In combination with the maintenance management information system, all vehicle statuses (time intervals) are monitored during the operation-maintenance-operation cycle. From a reliability perspective, the system provides information about the environment in which the fault occurred in addition to the fault detection itself. The system not only provides information about the frequency of a particular fault, but also the impact of the faults. This will allow the focus to be on eliminating the causes of failures with the greatest impact on both maintenance and design work on new vehicles.
The PREMIS system divides the diagnostics into two stages:
- Condition-based monitoring – visualization of basic, structured data obtained from detectors and sensors.
- Predictive diagnostics including reliability characteristic measurement – detailed analysis of data obtained from the vehicle/service/other departments using artificial intelligence algorithms to predict failure, i.e., the failure of critical, essential components on the vehicle. Due to the complexity of this issue, in conjunction with the IBM Maximo maintenance management and prediction system.
It consists of a vehicle unit – built on the high-performance HYPEX hardware platform, with a custom Linux operating system distribution. The unit does not perform its own diagnostics, but tries to provide the maximum amount of data to its counterpart in the stationary server, which prevents the degradation of individual signals during transmission and thus differs from existing diagnostic systems. This unit can also be extended with a management switch or MCG (Mobile Communication Gateway).
Server part – it does not only serve as a database for storing structured database data obtained from the vehicle, but it primarily creates them from elementary data from the vehicle. The database of diagnostic events is created completely on the server, which allows you to quickly and easily reconfigure event rules for the entire fleet of vehicles without the need for on-board parameterisation.
Thanks to the large amount of data captured in real time and the addition of service information, advanced analyses can be performed on the data:
- Basic on-line analysis of vehicle traffic, which was only possible with earlier systems when connected locally on the vehicle.
- Anomaly detection.
- Prediction of failures.
This part can be deployed both in the customer’s local environment and in the cloud environment.
This provides technicians with a detailed map with the exact location of the vehicle, which maintains constant contact with headquarters and sends operational information such as current speed, mileage and technical status.
The PREMIS system can be extended with the intelligent BSU-XX sensor unit, also from Škoda Digital. The sensor unit is designed to diagnose the mechanical condition of the moving parts of vehicle chassis groups, such as bearing housings, chassis frame and vehicle. The unit can measure the local temperature and acceleration measurements in three axes.
The PREMIS system and its hardware elements (HYPEX unit, BSU unit) fulfil the ideas referred to as Maintenance 4.0, as they directly connect the vehicle itself, its technical condition including the environment in which it is located and the maintenance personnel with data. Within the ŠKODA Group, this creates a fundamental tool for optimising maintenance and reducing downtime and unproductive vehicle life cycle times.
SMART MOBILITY FOR PILSEN
The transport mobility of the future is not just self-driving cars, but a whole ecosystem of interconnected solutions that lead to safer and smoother transport in cities. The Pilsen City Council, Pilsen City Transport Enterprises and the Information Technology Administration of the City of Pilsen have teamed up with O2 Czech Republic, INTENS Corporation, Škoda Transportation, Škoda Digital and the University of West Bohemia to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation in May 2021 with the aim of making Pilsen a centre for smart mobility and a living laboratory for testing autonomous driving in the city by 2027.
Thanks to the 5G for 5 Cities programme, in which Pilsen is actively involved and where O2 is a technology partner of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the operator started covering the city with 5G networks last year. It is its key features, such as fast data downloading/uploading and low response times, together with the high security of the data transmission, that are essential for building and operating an infrastructure that allows individual smart elements to communicate with each other.
A unique living laboratory should be created in Pilsen, which will test various models of smart transport in a real environment. Residents and visitors of Pilsen will thus be able to encounter a unique ecosystem connecting smart trams, intersections, stops or even the entire smart street. Integrated rescue system vehicles should also be added.
The new trams for Pilsen, developed by Škoda Transportation, are fully air-conditioned and will make travelling truly comfortable and safe. Five double doors on either side of the vehicle allow passengers to get in and out quickly. Of course, there is space for strollers, wheelchairs and bicycles. ForCity Smart trams comply with the latest European standards, including requirements for the fire-resistance of materials, the strength of vehicle bodies and the impact resistance of the vehicle body. For example, the front skeleton is designed to be more protective of drivers and passengers in the event of collisions, while also being considerate of other road users.
Škoda Transportation’s three-cell bi-directional trams are adapted to the requirements and specifics of Pilsen. The trams, among other things, offer a technical solution suitable for sharp curves as well as for demanding gradients in Pilsen.
The modern vehicle will be equipped with a wide range of sensors that monitor the track and potential obstacles. The vehicle will also be fitted with a C2X communications unit, which O2 has successfully tested as part of the European C-Roads project. Thanks to the on-board unit, the tram can communicate with other elements along its route via ITS G5 hybrid communication and the 5G mobile network. It will alert drivers, for example, to roadworks or an approaching emergency vehicle and can ensure priority passage through a busy intersection. INTENS Corporation tested C2X systems in Pilsen as part of the C-Roads project and will be responsible for the development of smart mobility there. This will provide passengers with better safety and more precise timetables, while Pilsen’s municipal transport companies will be able to better plan capacities and reduce tram transport intervals. In the following phases, additional sensors in the form of cameras, lidars and radars that can react to movement faster than the human brain should be gradually added to the new tram, thus contributing to greater safety for pedestrians and passengers.
The University of West Bohemia will also participate in the development of smart mobility in Pilsen. A live polygon will be created for testing the Smart Tram in the vicinity of its campus in Borské Polí, where fifth-generation networks are already in use thanks to O2 coverage. The project will involve all the technical faculties, i.e., mechanical, electrical and applied sciences, as well as the NTC research centre. It will be involved in the development of control systems, sensors and lightweight mechanical structures.
An integral part of smart mobility is also the digitalisation of the entire ecosystem, which will be implemented together with the city’s Information Technology Administration. It currently has a very accurate 3D map of the entire city, which will be further enhanced with a dynamic traffic model including predictive functions. The availability of 5G networks will enable the real-time collection and processing of large amounts of data that will be integral to autonomous mobility, providing timely information to autonomous vehicles and ensuring their safe operation.
The entire system will be completely secure, anonymous and its aim will be to improve the quality and comfort of the lives of citizens and visitors to the city of Pilsen. At the same time, it should support local industry and the creation of new start-ups that could use this living laboratory for the development and implementation of innovative technologies and procedures.