The Project

With the introduction of Virtual Balise into the ERTMS, the trustiness on GNSS signals is becoming important. Robustness and resilience against intentional interference risks related to intentional GNSS interference (e.g. jamming / spoofing) were not addressed in the recent concluded project with ESA 3InSat. Interfering signals may impact on the PVT estimation of the on board unit as well as on the wayside reference stations along the rail, thus reducing the availability of the ERTMS system.  The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking Master plan has defined a roadmap and technology demonstrators for adopting the GNSS application into the ERTMS train control system evolution. This plan has underlined, among the others, the need to overcome the risks due to GNSS interfering signals and proper antenna and processing solutions have been envisaged.

The project "Digital Beamforming for Rail" DB4RAIL aims at designing, developing and prototyping a software digital beamforming platform for active antennas coupled with advanced GNSS signal processing techniques for high rejection of GNSS interfering signals, including jamming and spoofing, to be used for supporting the evolution of the LDS based on GNSS in ERTMS/ETCS.

The partners represents a unique team with specific know-how in this field being involved on the major projects impacting the adoption of GNSS in the ERTMS evolution since 2011. RAL, the project coordinator is leading international research activities on GNSS for rail, ASTS is a founder member of Shift2Rail and the first European company delivering a GNSS-based train control system in Australia, QAS is a well-recognized company on anti-jamming/spoofing solutions and RFI is the first adopter of ERTMS since 2005 and is leading in Europe the introduction of GNSS into ERTMS.

The product, starting from TRL3, is expected to reach TRL6 at the end of project in 18 months. Furthermore, ASTS will identify a plan for its industrialization (target TRL9) and certification for addressing the market of emerging ERTMS solutions based on GNSS. Additional market segments will be pursued directly by Radiolabs on the UAVs and Automotive for which RAL is partnering with a world’s car manufacturer leader on a specific project dealing with the “connected” car.

The DB4RAIL project, the first one on the rail domain, includes the design, development and prototyping of a Digital Beamforming Platform (DBP) software for active antennas coupled with advanced signal processing techniques for high rejection of GNSS interfering and counterfeit signals, fully exploiting the characteristics of the railway context. DB and DSP are complementary and necessary means to pave the way of secure receiver with railways security standards.

The proposed solution exploits both beamforming interference rejection capability and a DSP and Navigation stage spoofing mitigation operating in the temporal domain based on the tracking channels correlators. During the project, an antenna array and the RF front-end based on COTS components will be assembled, in order to support the development and test of the time-space adaptive beamforming, and the DSP and Navigation stages.

 Moreover, this equipment will be employed to investigate the real behaviour of adaptive antenna array under a large variety of possible scenarios, and to identify the optimal trade-off between the effectiveness of the interference mitigation and the system complexity (e.g., antenna array element geometry, number of elements).

The software jamming and spoofing mitigation platform includes all the basic modules: a) the anti-jamming pre-processing module,  b) the temporal despreading module that performs the temporal despreading of the signals at the output of each array element, c) the joint signal detection and estimation module that extracts relevant information like time of arrival, carrier phase and DOA, by means of an iterative procedure that exploits the spatial correlation among signals in space and d) the navigation module that performs the PVT estimation.

The work is organised in eight WPs starting from Management, Coordination and Quality Assurance, Business Plan, Platform Development Plan and Technical Specifications to Detailed Design, Development and Integration, Testing and Verification to Recommendations and Conclusions.



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Rete Ferroviaria Italiana





Scientific Coordinator: Prof. Alessandro Neri

Project Manager: Eng. Cosimo Stallo

Contracts Officer: Ms. Valentina Preda