THE Korean Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) is developing train-to-train (T2T) communications technology for self-driving trains, and in what it says is a world first, has successfully tested data transmission between two vehicles using a vehicle-mounted directional antenna.

The directional antenna was developed by KRRI to meet the specific requirements of railway operation.

The trials have been conducted on the Osong test track using two reduced-size vehicles and an existing omni-directional antenna, and have demonstrated that data can be transmitted and received at distances of up to 2km in open land and up to 4km in tunnels.

Data on nearby trains and traffic flow, such as accident information, is transmitted to the train to enable the autonomous driving system to control operation in real time.

KRRI says fast and reliable communications are particularly essential in the railway environment due to long train lengths and high operating speeds.

“The self-driving train system that determines the operating conditions of trains is one step closer to commercialisation,” says Mr Jeong Rak-gyo, head of the Smart Electrical Signals Division at KRRI.

Separately, Mr Jeong has been appointed as chairman of the Railroad Operating Institutions Communication Field Technology Council, which held its first meeting on July 27.

The council includes the Korean Railway Association (Korass) and national operator Korail, as well as the operators of metro systems in Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, Daegu, Busan and Gwangju.

The new body has been launched to facilitate the exchange of information on developments in railway communications technology, including research and development, application and management.

The council will also work on developing and revising standards for railway communications technology.

“It is a very meaningful departure for researchers and communications experts at railway operating sites across the country to communicate together to solve current issues and discuss future technologies,” says KRRI president, Mr Han Seok-yoon.