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There are growing expectations for railways as a means of overcoming societal challenges such as global warming and the urbanization of populations, with the construction of new railway lines and the upgrading of existing infrastructure proceeding around the world. As advances are made in the technology of the Internet of Things (IoT), the railway industry, too, has been using it to improve customer service and achieve operational efficiencies.
With AnsaldoBreda S.p.A. (since renamed Hitachi Rail Italy S.p.A.) and Ansaldo STS S.p.A. having become part of the Hitachi Group in FY2015, Hitachi has established an organization with the competitiveness to win large and complex projects in future global markets. We have also established the business infrastructure for developing and supplying services close to the customer following the adoption of an organizational structure based on business units from April 2016.
As a comprehensive system integrator for the railway industry that is able to supply signalling systems, traffic and power management systems, and a full range of information and other services as well as rolling stock and traction control equipment, Hitachi is providing faster trains, more punctual services with higher traffic densities, and reliable operation, and is developing advanced technologies that contribute to ongoing enhancements in these areas.
The basis of this technology development comes from satisfying the stringent requirements of the Japanese market. Characteristics of Japanese railways include high traffic density, extremely punctual services, large numbers of passengers, and convenient passenger information. As it develops technology to satisfy these stringent requirements, Hitachi is also seeking to put the results of these efforts to work in global markets.
Against this background, Hitachi is focusing its technology development on the following areas.
To begin with, we are working on developments to reduce the load on the environment, such as battery-powered trains and making improvements in inverter efficiency through the use of silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors.
To reduce rolling stock weight, we are using standardization to pursue economies of scale as well as making improvements to conventional aluminum rolling stock.
For signalling, we are developing communications-based train control (CBTC) and other systems to downsize signals equipment and reduce maintenance costs.
Among developments that use IoT technology are systems that facilitate high traffic densities and help provide more comprehensive passenger information services. We are also working on the development of energy management systems that involve interoperation between onboard systems and wayside systems, such as those for traffic management, substations, and power management.
Under our new business unit structure, we intend to use collaborative creation with customers to create new services that make use of an even wider range of technologies than in the past to meet the needs of the public.
While the technologies described in this issue of Hitachi Review represent only some of those that we are working on, Hitachi is engaged in relentless technology development with the aim of contributing to railway services around the world.
As a comprehensive system integrator for the railway industry, our aim is to drive innovation in railway services, both by understanding and anticipating the challenges and requirements of society, and by combining technical innovations from throughout Hitachi to develop and supply solutions for the railway industry that combine superior products and technologies.
Vice President and Executive Officer, COO of the Railway Systems Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd.