The Project

Category: Portal Last Updated: Friday, 29 January 2016

The aim of the RHINOS project is to develop a Railway High Integrity Navigation Overlay System to be used by the rail community. RHINOS’s pillar is the GNSS infrastructure realised for the aviation application with additional layers that meet the rail requirements in the difficult railway environments.

The main objectives of the project are:

Objective 1: To define the architecture of a train Location Detection System (LDS) and of the supporting infrastructure, with the following properties:

  •  joint use of GPS and GALILEO and wide area integration monitoring and augmentation networks like WAAS in North America and EGNOS in Europe;
  • standard interface (SBAS-R) for providing Safety of Life services for railways through SBASs, regional augmentations or hybrid SBAS/GBAS systems;
  • compliance with European as well as US railway requirements and regulations;
  • sharing as much as possible of the supporting (i.e., augmentation) infrastructure and on board processing, including new developments such as Advanced Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (ARAIM), with the avionics field;
  • provisioning at the same time, of a set of functionalities tailored to the specific needs of the rail sector.

Objective 2: To assess the performance of the defined architecture by means of:

  • a proof-of-concept integrating, in a virtualized testbed, rich sets of data collected in a real railway environment, historical time series related to rare GPS SIS fault events concerning both satellite malfunctions and atmosphere anomalous behaviours (e.g. ionospheric storms), including simulated faults for the new-coming GALILEO constellation;
  • appropriate analytical methods for the verification and safety evidence of defined architecture according to relevant railway safety standards (e.g. CENELEC EN 50129, etc.)

Objective 3: To contribute to the missing standard in the railway sector about the way of integration of GNSS-based LDS, into current Train Control System (TCS) standards (e.g. ERTMS) by publishing a comprehensive guide on how to employ, in a cost-effective manner, GNSS, SBAS and other local infrastructures in safety related rail applications worldwide, and by defining a strategic roadmap for the adoption of an international standard based on the same guide.

The RHINOS work programme includes the investigation of candidate concepts for the provision of the high integrity needed to protect the detected position of the train, as required by the train control system application. The EGNSS (GPS and GALILEO) plus the SBAS constitute the reference infrastructure that is available worldwide. In addition to that, local augmentation elements, ARAIM techniques and other sensors on the train are the add-on specific assets for mitigating the hazards due to the environmental effects which dominates the rail application. A further objective of RHINOS is to contribute to the definition of a standard for the Railway High Integrity Navigation Overlay System. The standard is a key success factor for spreading the GNSS application into the rail.

RHINOS will be developed through an international cooperation with the Stanford University researchers that have been involved in the aviation application since the birth of the GPS. They have indisputable knowledge of the GNSS performance and high-integrity applications. The ambition is a positive step beyond the proliferation of GNSS platforms, mainly tailored for regional applications, in favour of a global solution. RHINOS would release the potential benefits of the EGNSS in the fast growing train signalling market. The European Union and United States Cooperation Agreement  on ARAIM is a reference model to be taken into consideration for the development of RHINOS. This well established EU-US cooperation in the aviation sector is expected to be extended to include rail applications. We hope to apply the new understanding of high integrity applications and enhance the emerging role that Europe and USA are having on promoting the rail sector.

The certifiability is the key to operational usage of RHINOS solution. The RHINOS GNSS railway interface is intended for high-safety integrity signalling systems where safety evidence, safety case and system certification are mandatory. The safety concept of RHINOS solution intends to meet the highest railway safety requirements – i.e. Safety Integrity Level 4 (Tolerable Hazard Rate - THR < 10-9 per hour per train) and also fulfil all requirements specified in specific railway safety standards, such as EN 50126, EN 50128, EN 50129, etc. Tasks regarding RHINOS solution life cycle, verification, validation, safety case, and its certification have to be solved by manufactures and notified bodies in successive activities.
The RHINOS solution aims to be a candidate for the global SBAS-R standard. The international standardization of the SBAS-R interface will help to fill the existing gap between the aviation SBAS and railway ETCS standards. This new worldwide standard will significantly support interoperability in railway signalling based on the Virtual Balise concept, especially on long routes within individual regions, like Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, or between regions such as East Asia-Europe.


This project has received funding from the European GNSS Agency under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No.687399