DB Fernverkehr looking for ideas and innovations at RWTH
DB Fernverkehr AG is new strategic partner of RWTH Aachen University
As of September 2020, RWTH Aachen University has a new strategic partner, DB Fernverkehr AG, to drive innovation forward. The Deutsche Bahn subsidiary offers long-distance transport services with a focus on product and service quality to ensure comfortable and reliable operations for passengers. A high degree of customer orientation plays a central role for DB Fernverkehr, which aims to make the travel situation as pleasant as possible for the customer.
Making long-distance traffic more attractive
Within the department of vehicle management, a special division set up just for this cause is therefore constantly on the lookout for innovations that will make long-distance trains more reliable and thus more punctual. The Technology Transfer team sees itself as an innovation radar for new technologies that can be applied to vehicle management.
"We want to bring tomorrow's technology into today's trains", explains Maria Sette, member of the Technology Transfer team and Officer for New Technologies at DB Fernverkehr.
The company expects the cooperation with the university to allow a fast and effective access to innovative ideas from the RWTH Aachen University environment. It is also looking for innovative approaches that are not necessarily directly related to the railway, but come from other departments.
"We are quite open," emphasises Sette, "the innovations and ideas can come from completely different fields of application than rail transport, but then be used in our fields.”
DB Fernverkehr is convinced that successful innovations can only come about through interdisciplinary exchange.
Increasing punctuality of long-distance transport
The aim of the cooperation is to initiate long-term R&D projects in order to test and verify the ideas and innovations developed at RWTH Aachen University within the DB Fernverkehr AG. In addition, a "Tech Challenge" is planned for next year, in which students will be asked to develop and work out ideas for Deutsche Bahn.
"Above all, we want to increase the availability of the overall railway system," explains Sette.
This should enable a fast and flexible response to the failure of a train, so that long-distance trains become more reliable and punctual overall.
The strategic partnership builds on existing bilateral R&D cooperation projects between RWTH and Deutsche Bahn AG. These are to be deepened and expanded within the new partnership over the next two years. The coordination and monitoring of the cooperation and the related activities is centrally carried out by RWTH Innovation GmbH, which forms the link between DB Fernverkehr AG and RWTH Aachen University through its specially established key account. After an initial kick-off meeting, regular visits to RWTH Aachen University will now take place, each time focusing on a potential joint research topic.