The future of rail
VTG sets itself a primary goal: making rail freight more flexible and efficient using digital solutions. We have already reached some promising milestones along the way.
It doesn’t get more analogue and outdated than rail, does it?
If that’s what you think, think again! Rail is evolving by leaps and bounds for several years and has certainly arrived in the future. Digital solutions and whole new approaches make up for many of the supposed advantages of road haulage. Rail, to be frank, is getting smart and catching up.
Let’s get digital!
We at VTG are proud to be playing a major part in this development. We also see our commitment to digital rail as a contribution to a sustainable transport strategy. Vital environmental targets can be reached only if rail freight plays a key role. For this to happen, rail has to become flexible, efficient and reliable first. It must become competitive, in other words. For this, digital solutions are indispensable.
Pioneering digital fleet upgrades
VTG’s major digital initiative began back in 2016. Aiming to digitalize the entire fleet, the company began fitting its wagons with GPS trackers. The VTG Connector then enabled customers to track and trace data such as location, shocks, impacts and ambient temperature measurements to within a couple of minutes. Combinations with other sensors have since added a multitude of additional measurements, including temperature checks for the cargo in tank cars, the loading status and the kingpin status.
A platform for new rail
The data collected in this way can be viewed and analyzed via interfaces or on traigo, VTG’s central platform for digital services and digital fleet management. traigo gives customers a complete overview of the position and status of its fleet at any time. It lets them view any transport events and monitor the status of their consignments. As such, traigo is a valuable tool to optimize supply chains: Thanks to its clearly designed interface, wealth of data and useful add-on functions, movement patterns can be identified and analyzed with ease. The VTG platform also supports the digital provisioning of operational information – for damage protocols if a wagon gets damaged, for example, but also for recommissioning certificates. Indeed, to make sure such serious events are avoided in the first place, certain forms of damage to wagons can be spotted on traigo before wagons have to be taken out of circulation.
Strength in numbers to drive rail freight forward
VTG does not restrict itself by investing only in its own visionary and digital developments. We are aware that close cooperation is needed between all players if rail freight is to realize its full potential. For this reason, we also play an active role in industry-wide initiatives such as the project to prepare for introduction of the Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC). Besides making rail transports safer and more efficient, the DAC will also make it easier to provide them with digital support and analysis.
Focus on the customer
Applying a rigorously digital mindset to rail freight opens up almost endless possibilities: Sensors can detect damage. Networked drones are capable of monitoring routes and wagons. Artificial intelligence (AI) is able to analyze the collected data and set operational processes in motion. Driverless trains are already in use in some places and certainly become more common in the future. VTG’s innovation teams are keeping an eye on all these opportunities, but are mindful not to randomly jump on every new idea. In dialogue with our customers, we identify the most pressing topics – and invest our full digital capability in resolving precisely these issues.