Montreal, August 26, 2021 – Thales, a global technology leader, has teamed up with a Montreal-based technology startup to help shape the future of autonomous rail technology. Supported by the ENCQOR 5G program, the partnership between Thales and One Silicon Chip Photonics (OSCP) aims to test a high-performance optical inertial sensor system on an autonomous train platform.

Thales is one of the five global technology leaders of ENCQOR, providing access for small to medium enterprises to showcase their innovations and 5G technologies alongside industry leaders. The goal of this partnership with OSCP is to develop sensing and navigation capabilities that can be deployed in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles in urban and mainline rail environments.

Thales and OSCP will develop an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) prototype which will be tested onboard the Thales Train Autonomy Platform. When combined with 5G capabilities, the embedded IMU will allow Thales to track the location of the autonomous train platform even when operating in complex zones where global navigation satellite systems cannot provide adequate performance for navigation.

Over the next nine months, the IMU system will be tested in a field environment. The project will conclude with a demonstration at the York-Durham Heritage Railway test site, in Uxbridge, Ontario to confirm the capacity of the system to provide an accurate position when integrated on a rail vehicle.

« The partnership with Thales and OSCP will allow autonomous rail technologies to be further enhanced, enabling smarter, safer, greener and more advanced systems to be developed here in Canada. We are delighted to partner with OSCP on this exciting project, and Thales will continue to be a strong supporter of the ENCQOR program. » – Walter Kinio, Vice President Research and Innovation, Thales. 

« We are proud to partner with such a respected IMU market leader as Thales, with their world-class expertise in autonomous train positioning. Our proprietary Photonics Integrated Circuits (PIC)-based IMU technology will be demonstrated on a Thales platform as a more accurate lower cost alternative to existing market solutions. We are grateful for the generous support of ENCQOR to enable potential collaborations such as this for Quebec-based companies. » – Kazem Zandi, CEO of OSCP.

« ENCQOR is very happy to support this partnership between Thales and OSCP through its state-of-the-art test bed and 5G network. This project is a very good example of a collaborative approach to ensure the accelerated development of a new, very promising solution. The optical inertial measurement unit jointly developed by Thales and OSCP is expected to have a significant impact in the deployment of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles used in particular in public transport and the rail sector. » – Pierre Boucher, General Manager of ENCQOR.