Test and Automation is our latest service offering and we have been supporting leading industry rolling stock companies carrying out multiple levels of verification and validation of train fleets across their development, testing and homologation cycles. We have established this new line of business to support our existing customers as well as to cater to the future needs of the UK Rail industry where we see a rising demand for digital transformation skills to make smarter and intelligent trains and infrastructure solutions.
In line with Network Rail’s “Digital Railway Transformation” strategy, we are gearing up our capabilities and capacity in this new sector, focusing on Next Generation, Smart, Digital Transformation solutions for Rail. Our aim is to be future proof in new skills which are slowly permeating the rail industry from automotive, to enhance safety, reliability and operational efficiencies for all key players involved in the design, production, validation, operation and maintenance of the rolling stock and infrastructure solutions. Skills like modelling, simulation, virtualization, and automation are no more aliens to the rail industry professionals.
We believe in the age-old maxim, if you build it right, then it works right the first time!
The key is to integrate the top level inputs to the subsequent phases of design and development, and ensure that at each development phase, there is a cumulative testing element that reduces overall test efforts down the stream, and more importantly, de-risks the programme and end goals.
With focus on getting things right in the early stages of design and development, we are focused on offering not only the conventional “Testing” as a service, but we always try to support early. We help our customers in performing V&V across all phases of the product life cycle – from concept phase to operational maintenance, providing an end-to-end whole product life cycle “Test and Automation” support.
We offer automated validation of requirements via modelling and simulation tools, to provide a base for generation of test vectors later. Modelling requirements and generating functional models enables stakeholders to explore, evaluate and ensure what they are “building” is the right functionality. Once there are functional models, it is very efficient and effective to generate automated test vectors and validate the implemented functionality. This two-level verification and validation ensures the right things are being built and what is built is working as desired.
The automotive industry has realised huge cost savings and achieved a step-change in efficiencies by deploying these digital, smart design, verification, and validation methodologies over the past decade. We are aware that a lot of experimentation is already happening in the rail world to explore how these can be adopted with minimal disruption to existing ways of working. The rail industry is poised for adopting these proven techniques and methods and we are ready to help our customers adapt and adopt these digital, software-based verification and validation techniques.
One of the key aspects is the development tool chains, and we offer specialist consultancy in automation and integration across tool chains, to enable seamless traceability and flow of evidence across the entire product development life cycle. Apart from the basic benefit of having traceability to prove things, our automation solutions offer much needed efficiencies in the most crucial phases of the development – authorisation and homologation, where the documentation is all automated for the recurring changes.
We also offer innovative solutions for enabling scalable, cloud based automated test platforms. We can put physical test labs on the cloud, with obvious benefits of scalability, access from anywhere, and create clones with different configurations to provide more volume of automated testing across various configurations of the products and de-risk the end goal.
With a modular, flexible architecture, the test platform can cover a wide array of functionalities and the simulated components can mimic any product within the entire gamete of the rail industry (both on-board rolling stock and infrastructure side). The multiple levels of V&V can be repeated as and when required to enhance coverage, quality and ROI. Fault injection tests and automated asset monitoring and management can also be included to test for anomalous behaviour, and there is scope to integrate with other AI based, machine learning systems as well.
AEGIS Certification Systems which is our independent, sister company – can certify and validate this cloud-based test platform to enable formal validation. Needless to say, the ROI from having a cloud-based, scalable test platform is a no brainer!