ODVA forms rail transport special interest group

Network organization for EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, and other protocols expects to provide solutions for on-board train controls, monitoring, signaling, and demand-response.


ODVA announced on Jan. 26 that it will form a new special interest group to evolve ODVA technologies for rail transport. Aimed at enhancing ODVA’s specifications with services and device profiles to meet the needs of rail transport, the resulting standards are expected to provide a comprehensive solution for rail transport, encompassing on-board train controls, monitoring, signaling and demand-response. The formation of this special interest group (SIG) reflects increased interest in ODVA technologies by OEMs in the rail transport industry.

The Jan. 25 2011 State of the Union Address included a call for increased investment in high-speed rail among other technology investments.

The strong business outlook for rail transport is driving increased investment by OEMs in information and communication technologies (ICT), such as the ODVA technology portfolio, the network organization said. ICT will help improve safety and services as market demands increase for rail capacity and higher performance equipment. The intimate connection of rail transport with key sectors of the economic ecosystem – industrial, retail, commercial, residential and government – mandates that future ICT implementations in rail transport adapt automation technologies that are open, interoperable and, whenever possible, embrace the use of commercial-off-the-shelf and standard, unmodified Internet and Ethernet technologies. All of these attributes are exemplified by ODVA and its cornerstone technologies, the Common Industrial Protocol and EtherNet/IP.

Pascal Cléré, vice president, Alstom Transport Information Solutions, and ODVA member, stated, “Broad-based deployment of Ethernet technologies is a key element of the product plans for Alstom’s Carborne range of systems, devices and services for the railway sector.  Alstom is leading the market in the application of Ethernet for rail transport and was first to market in 2008 with an ATC control/command application in Beijing. Now Alstom seeks to lead in the application of open Ethernet standards to this sector and believes that ODVA – with its core values of vendor-neutrality, open participation and open technologies – and EtherNet/IP – as the world’s leading industrial Ethernet network – together provide the ideal platform for building consensus within the railway transport industry around its next generation of global network standards based on Ethernet.”

Katherine Voss, executive director of ODVA, added, “This is a new market sector for ODVA technologies, which ODVA is entering due to the interest of members. As one of ODVA’s vertical market SIGs, the Rail Transport SIG will provide a unique opportunity for leaders in the rail industry and information technology to collaborate for best-in-class, open and interoperable communication standards for the next generation in railway transport.”

The SIG is expected to hold its initial invitational meeting in first-quarter 2011. Participation in the SIG is expected to include ODVA members from multiple regions in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Initial implementations of specification enhancements are expected to be in EtherNet/IP compliant products.

ODVA, founded in 1995, says it is a "global association whose members are comprised of the world’s leading automation companies. ODVA’s mission is to advance open, interoperable information and communication technologies in industrial automation. ODVA recognizes its media independent network protocol, the Common Industrial Protocol or “CIP” – and the network adaptations of CIP – EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet – as its core technology and the primary common interest of its membership. ODVA’s vision is to contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of the global community by transforming the model for information and communication technology in the industrial ecosystem. For future interoperability of production systems and the integration of the production systems with other systems, ODVA embraces the adoption of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and standard, unmodified Internet and Ethernet technologies as a guiding principle wherever possible. This principal is exemplified by EtherNet/IP– the world’s number one industrial Ethernet network."

For more information about ODVA, ODVA technologies or the Rail Transport SIG, visit ODVA’s website at www.odva.org.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com


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