Oktal's Train Simulations Bring High-Speed Rail Operators Up to Speed Oktal is a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of railroad locomotive and power car simulators in Europe. It is part of a French delegation of companies coming to Florida from February 21 to 25, 2011, to meet with state and local transportation leaders to promote themselves in hopes for being selected as contractors for the Florida high-speed rail project and other transportation improvements in the region. Oktal has been a major figure in transit operation simulation since 1989, acting as a prime contractor for complete simulators and simulation software publishers. One of the major interest topics for the U.S. railway operators is the mandatory introduction of Positive Train Control (PTC) by 2015. Oktal has developed a very advanced model of the European equivalent of the PTC system, called ERTMS: a train protection system largely adopted worldwide and dedicated to high-speed trains. These models include that of ERTMS Level 3, which is very close in functionality to the requirements for PTC. Oktal's model includes braking curves, specific speed restrictions due to track geometry, and enforcing the limits to movement authorities. This simulator can be delivered even before the actual system is implemented. This capacity of simulators to help in the design and testing of ergonomics and performance of a PTC system, executed ahead of service introduction, is an attractive asset for cost reduction and timing control of the overall project. The company's products are designed for research or training purposes, and its experience and technological expertise have resulted in an offer that can pair efficient and durable products with complementary services such as technical support, training and maintenance. Oktal has a proven track record in designing and manufacturing high-speed rail simulators for clients around the world: EUROSTAR simulator (France) In 1992, Oktal developed its first high-speed rail train simulator system for the French National Railways (SNCF) and British Rail high-speed equipment scheduled to operate between Paris and London via the Channel Eurotunnel. The successful delivery and activation of this fully operational simulator transformed the technical basis for simulators across the entire industry. The operator’s cab was situated atop a motion platform so that the training process for the drivers included “feel” as well as sight and sound inputs. Moreover, the simulator was the first to utilize full computer generated images (CGI) for accurate visual representation of the track and right-of-way. This simulator, the first in Oktal's product portfolio for HSR service, is still in service today, training, evaluating and certifying the proficiency of the drivers and train crews. With subsequent addition in 2001 of new itineraries, the 310 miles corridor available today on the simulator serves training of Thalys drivers (Belgium-France HSR service) as well as Eurostar drivers and train crews. KTX-II simulator (South Korea) In 2010, Oktal provided its most recent locomotive simulator for Korail’s HSR, which serves 460 miles between Seoul, Mokpo and Busan in South Korea. This full motion simulator with ERTMS implemented and extensive number of simulated train failures prepares drivers for the day when everything else fails.
In September Oktal sent the third biggest driving simulator in the world to Tongji University in Shanghai, after several months of development in France.
This simulator consists of a 6 metre wide dome housing a Megane Renault and a wide 250° display system for a complete immersion of the driver in an extremely realistic visual and sound environment. The dome stands on a 8 DoF (Degrees of Freedom) dynamic platform equipped with six electrical actuators and mounted on tracks of 20 metres by 5 to render perfect motion feedbacks (acceleration, braking, vibration, curves). (video link above)
The simulator is controlled and driven by the SCANeRTM Studio software that allows simulating road environment and creating vehicles and scenarios. (read more: www.scanersimulation.com)
An OKTAL engineering team is currently in China to ensure assembly, tuning and calibration of the simulator as well as users' training and technical assistance to the customer during the validation tests.
The experiments carried out on the simulator will allow the scientists of Tongji University to study drivers' behaviour under complex driving conditions and their reactions to new road infrastructure features.
The outcome of this impressive project confirms Oktal as international reference in the field of driving simulation.
Supported by the editor of driving simulation software Oktal, the open format RoadXML strengthens its functioning organization.
If the driving simulation allows accelerating the conception and validation of future vehicles while decreasing the costs, it remains expensive and slow in its implementation. A recent announcement could participate in the standardization of this tool. It concerns RoadXML, the new data format of road network logical description, which perpetuates by the election of a steering committee. Now this open format should facilitate the interoperability between driving simulators and participate in the development of a unique interface between these simulators and the applications of engineering and traffic. Its ambition is also to improve the contents of road network description formats to take up the challenges of mobility, sustainable development and training performance.
The steering committee of RoadXML consists of industrial and academic representatives, as well as the French editor Oktal, the European leader of simulation software that is at the origin of this initiative.
After an order of 120 type BB 22000 driving micro-simulators at the beginning of 2010 (LITO2 project), the French national railway company confirms its trust in OKTAL by signing a new contract in July for the supplying of Tram-Train New Generation driving simulators (TTNG).
These mobile simulators will enable training Tram-train drivers on French territory. They will also be used as communication support by SNCF to inform public, professionals and institutions about the Tram-Train concept. Compact and integrated into a flight-case, the TTNG simulators can be easily installed or moved from a training site to another one thanks to their ergonomics. TTNG keeps all the qualities of LITO2: excellent immersion of the driver, very realistic representation of the synthetic environment with high quality 3D images and wide panel of features.
Laurent Salanqueda, Chief Executive Officer of OKTAL, has declared: "We are very sensitive to the trust SNCF showed us through these two consecutive contracts. Beyond the legitimate pride to have been chosen to accompany this prestigious principal, this message comes to validate our strategy on the railway simulation market and reaffirm the company values based on professionalism and technical innovation ".
Resulting from a contract signed in 2009 further to an international call for tender, this motor car driving simulator will be used for the studies led by the department " Transport and Facilities " at Tongji University, one of the oldest and most prestigious higher education and research Chinese institutions.
In the Top 3 at the world level, the objective of this driving simulator is to study drivers' reaction under complicated driving conditions as well as to estimate drivers' psychology and behaviour in reaction to new road facilities features, driving circumstances and system man-machine interfaces.
This giant simulator is composed of a dome made in composite structure, a movement system of 8 degrees of freedom (8 DoF), a complete car and a display system allowing a big field of vision (more than 250 °). It exploits the last version of SCANeR TM studio software.
The system is under integration only with its dynamic platform 6DoF in OKTAL factory in Toulouse until the middle of June 2010. Then it will be dismantled and sent in China for the final integration with the complete dynamic platform (8DoF). After the adjustment stage, the driving simulator will be ready for the first experiments which will be undertaken at the end of 2010. Always concerned about satisfying its customers' needs, OKTAL worked in close collaboration with Tongji University to develop the project.
The French governmental organisation for armament programs and test flights based in Istres (France) has selected OKTAL for the implementation of Mirage 2000 D and 2000-5 trainers. Realized in collaboration with the DGA, these trainers will contribute to the training of French Air Force pilots on the terminal MIDS. This one allows planes in patrol to display and pass on tactical information through the connection L16. This new success strengthens Oktal's position as supplier of procedure trainers for military aircraft.
" Electronics and computing are domains where China is world leader. Breaking into this market was truly a challenge. The Toulousian Oktal company won it one year ago and is now ready to deliver the fruit of an almost unique work in the world."
In the framework of Algerian railway modernization, the national rail company SNTF pronounced the acceptance on June the 6th 2008 of the simulator replica FLIRT with motion platform.. This simulator constitutes a key point in driver training program on the new EMU FLIRT supplied by Stadler rolling stock manufacturer and that will be introduce on the Algerian suburban railway. It will enables driver initial and advanced training and the simulation of demanding situations such as the rise and fall of passengers, the unauthorized crossing of tracks etc.
Realized in partnership and under the master of works of Transurb Technirail, this delivery is one more success for OKTAL after a first contribution to the improvement of SNTF training means. Indeed, this simulator completes the delivery made in 2001 of another simulator replica dedicated to driver training on electric and diesel locomotives.