January 28, 2022

SNCF partners with OTIV to improve safety and efficiency

SNCF has signed a pilot agreement with OTIV, the Belgium-based leader in assisted and autonomous systems for rail. OTIV will support SNCF to increase safety and efficiency during shunting operations. Upgrading first and last-mile operations is an essential step towards making rail more attractive for freight transport and realizing a modal shift to rail. The pilot launches in February and takes place in Calais, France on the facilities of VIIA, a subsidiary of SNCF specializing in combined intermodal transport.

Nearly a third of CO2 emissions in the European Union can be traced back to transportation. The sector must slash emissions to respond to the climate emergency. Shifting road transport to rail is an excellent opportunity to achieve environmental targets, as a single train replaces, on average, 50 trucks and rail transport cuts CO2 emissions by 9.

Shunting operations are a necessary first and last-mile step to transporting goods by rail. While trains already have the upper hand for transporting goods in large quantities over long distances, trucks are often preferred for shorter distances or smaller loads. To a large extent, this can be attributed to shunting being a time- and resource-intensive process. Besides, rail operations in complex industrial areas (e.g. ports) with other participants to traffic are prone to accidents with severe consequences. For drivers and ground personnel operating in these conditions, it is a complex and stressful task.

With the digital shunting assistant OTIV.ONE, shunting becomes much simpler and safer for train drivers and operators. By providing a real-time remote video stream augmented with machine-learning algorithms, OTIV allows drivers to have complete control over the locomotive while navigating the complex environments in the safest possible way. The state-of-the-art collision avoidance system not only detects humans, moving vehicles, and other potentially dangerous objects but also intelligently notifies the driver when to brake or stop.

Thanks to OTIV, SNCF will benefit from simpler, safer, and quicker shunting operations. This evolution will contribute to the broader shift to rail effort, and ensure a more sustainable supply chain.

About SNCF - Rail Logistics Europe

Rail Logistics Europe (RLE) is a subsidiary of the SNCF group, combining all freight and logistics activities of SNCF. It is the leading rail logistics network in France and the second in Europe, with activities in a.o. Germany and Italy. RLE is composed of five brands: Fret SNCF, Captrain, VIIA, Naviland Cargo, and Forwardis.

The companies have nearly 10’000 employees in ten countries. Each of the brands has specific skills and expertise. As a result, RLE can be a logistics partner for any type of goods in Europe and play its part to accelerate the modal shift to rail.