Euston concept design

HS2 to deploy driverless car technology to develop stations

Representing a first in UK technological innovation, an SME graduate of HS2’s Innovation Accelerator programme is harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and laser-based LiDAR sensors developed by the automotive industry, to help design a stress-free passenger experience of the future.

HS2 Ltd.’s Innovation programme is leading this collaborative project led by high-tech SME, OpenSpace Group Ltd. The project is bringing together the company delivering Britain’s new high speed rail network with Network Rail; intercity train operator, Avanti West Coast; and the University of Birmingham.

The ‘Future Stations Living Lab’ represents a major shift in the conceptualisation of infrastructure design. For the first time, a major train operator has connected with academia and construction providers to focus the design criteria through the use of digital twin technology.

 In a radical break from the past, the six-month proof-of-concept project will use LiDAR technology to digitise passenger flow data and inform the design of future HS2 stations, delivering an improved, low-stress customer experience.

The traditional design methods for stations have focused the criteria on the efficient running of trains, to allow availability for passengers, maximising the line capacity as much as possible. Future Stations Living Lab will veer from this methodology by putting passengers at the heart of design by creating a real-time replica of the existing Euston station in London.

The project is centralised around the implementation of computer vision systems with innovative LiDAR sensors. These will be used to capture people’s movements at Euston’s forecourt, concourse, and ticket gates.

The data collected will be anonymous and overlaid on a virtual replica of Euston station, thus being used to generate gaming-derived simulations of how people use various key station locations and “what-if” scenarios. This data collection and implementation will provide key insights towards how people interact with the station, enabling future station designs to centre around passenger usage in ergonomic methods.

Commenting, HS2 Innovation manager, Heather Donald said:

“Future Stations Living Lab is doubly innovative because it draws on both Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality technologies as well as know-how from the automotive and video gaming industries and is rail’s first inter-sector collaboration.

“Using digital data from a live mainline station it will establish, for the first time, information to aid future design and operations."

OpenSpace Group Ltd Founder and CEO, Nicolas Le Glatin, said:

“This innovative collaboration will help forge a new chapter in station design and operations, fusing an array of emerging digital twin technologies for the benefit of customer experience.”

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