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EuroBrake 2021 Q&A: Johannes Gräber, Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH

EuroBrake Advisory Board member Johannes Gräber discusses trends shaping rail industry braking technology, rail and automotive braking, and EuroBrake 2021

Johannes Gräber is global Head of Modernisation and Approval Strategy in Knorr-Bremse’s rail systems division. He also sits on the Advisory Board of EuroBrake, the world’s largest brake technology event.

Here, Johannes discusses the key trends shaping braking developments in the rail industry, commonality between rail and automotive braking, and his aspirations for EuroBrake 2021, which takes place from 17-21 May 2021.

What are the top three priorities shaping rail industry strategy and technology in your region?

Major topics for European rail industry stakeholders are the quick roll-out across Europe of the European Rail Traffic Management System, or ERTMS, and the European Train Control System, or ETCS; second, the development of Automatic Train Operation, ATO, for mainline services, to meet the challenging targets of the EU Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy; and third, the introduction of the Digital Automatic Coupler (DAC), including further digitalisation for the improvement of rail freight services.

What can the automotive and rail industry stakeholders learn from each other?

With the automotive industry facing a rise in vehicle electrification, automotive industry stakeholders could learn from the rail industry’s long history of electric traction. At the same time, although autonomous drive technology is currently being developed for the automotive industry, it’s a technology that has been standard in the rail industry for several decades.

However, the power of innovation is much greater in the automotive industry than in rail, and here the rail industry’s stakeholders could benefit from lessons in innovation and development.

How can the rail industry collaborate with the automotive industry and other sectors to advance brake technology?

One significant area of collaboration between the two industries could be on the validation and certification of artificial intelligence and machine learning in autonomous driving, and there are opportunities for common research programs.

What do you hope to learn at EuroBrake 2021?

I’m hoping to meet experts from other sectors and discuss current R&D topics including vehicle electrification and autonomous driving, with a view to understanding the impact of these trends on brake control systems.

Which companies would you like to connect with at EuroBrake 2021?

In addition to OEMs from the rail industry, I would like to connect with automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, particularly those involved in electrification and automation.

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