Research and development

Research and development expense generated by the centrally-coordinated Signalling and Transportation Solutions business units taken directly to profit and loss for the six months ended 30 June 2013 totalled €16.0 million (€17.3 million in the same period of the previous year), against grants and services approximating €1.6 million (€1.1 million in the same period of the previous year).
Key activities of the period are described below:

Signalling

Research and development expense totalled €15.2 million for the first half of 2013 (€16.3 million in the same period of the previous year), against grants of €1.3 million (€1.0 million in the same period of the previous year).

In respect of externally-funded projects, the following projects funded by the Ministry of Production Activities (Industria 2015 - Sustainable Mobility) for “intermodality” are drawing to a close:

  • SISTEMA - involving the study of railway movement at ports. The project was completed at the end of 2012 with a demonstration in the Port of Genoa.
  • SLIMPORT - a project coordinated by SelexES within which the group coordinates the Slim Rail sub-project, involving the design of a railbased port-inner harbour container transfer system. The project was completed in 2012

As part of the National Operational Programmes, the following activities were carried out using the Campania region funds:

  • SICURFER - development and piloting of technologies to monitor railway infrastructures in order to raise safety and security levels. 
  • DIGITAL PATTERN DEVELOPMENT a project coordinated by Fiat for the development of simulation systems used in the design and production of road and rail transport systems and components; the group is involved in developing the rail traffic simulation systems
    Activities commenced in early 2012.

The developments concerning the use of satellite technologies in signalling systems which commenced during the year played a central role.

Activities commenced in the second half of 2012 related to satellite positioning and the ERTMS satellite system (which will use the RBCs), following increasing demand in the rail market, particularly as relates to freight (the Roy Hill contract acquired by Ansaldo STS Australia PTY LTD).

Development activities also took place on the following projects which do not receive external funding:

  • Standard RBC/ERTMS
  • Standard BALISE
  • Reduced-size BALISE
  • SIGNAL ENCODER
  • ON BOARD
  • CBTC (COMMUNICATION BASED TRAIN CONTROL)
  • INTERLOCKING
  • MULTIFUNCTION PORTAL

Transportation Solutions

Research and development expense for the Transportation Solutions business unit totalled €0.8 million for the first half of 2013 (€1 million in the same period of the previous year), against grants of €0.3 million (€0.1 million in the same period of the previous year).

The following financed projects are underway:

  • SITRAM: the project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) using the Industria 2015 scheme. It comprises the design and piloting of cutting-edge technological solutions for energy captation without overhead lines (TramWave®) and increased efficiency of the energy cycle and security. The modular TramWave® solution was developed and industrialised in this context, and a 600-metre section of the Naples-Poggioreale line was equipped for system functionality and safety successful testing. Given the delayed issue of the definitive decree, an 18-month extension was requested and approved, taking the project end date to June 2013;
  • the SFERE research and development project funded by the Ministry for University and Research commenced in the last quarter of 2012. Its aim is to develop solutions to control energy flows and to pilot integrated solutions involving the installation of supercapacitators;
  • the MBAT project funded by the Artemis JV (a public-private player that grants European Commission funding for the innovation of embedded systems) and the Ministry for University and Research was launched in early 2012. Its scope is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of embedded systems development and testing with a view to greater rail system safety and availability;
  • the OSIRIS project funded by the European Commission was launched in January 2013. Its scope is to set energy efficiency indicators for urban systems based on standard operating cycles, develop a holistic model duly interfaced with tools for global modelling of energy flows and consumption in urban systems and assess the effect of launching new specific technologies and operating strategies to reduce the consumption of urban transportation systems in the future;
  • MERLIN, another project funded by the European Commission, was launched in early 2013. Its scope is to: characterise railway systems and the main elements affecting energy consumption, focusing in particular on main lines (as opposed to the OSIRIS project which addresses urban systems), set energy efficiency indicators for a direct benchmark of system performance, develop a global energy consumption map and set the main requirements for energy optimisation and design a system reference architecture also interfacing with supervision and control systems (e.g., the signalling system).

Research and development expense for the reporting period totalled €14,387 thousand, down €1,812 thousand over the corresponding period of the previous year (€16,199 thousand).
The activities generated by the Signalling business unit totalled €13,923 thousand (down €1,398 thousand on the corresponding period of the previous year) and mainly related to the following companies:

  • Ansaldo STS S.p.A.: €5,955 thousand;
  • Ansaldo STS France S.A.S.: €5,310 thousand;
  • Ansaldo STS USA Inc.: €2,659 thousand.

The activities generated by the Transportation Solutions business unit totalled €463 thousand, down €415 thousand over the corresponding period of the previous year.

Research expense of €877 thousand was capitalised in relation to the “satellite project”, against which grants of €469 thousand were recognised.

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