Mίνθa: A Framework for Auto-Programming and Testing of Railway Controllers for Varying Clients

Mίνθa: A Framework for Auto-Programming and Testing of Railway Controllers for Varying Clients

Jörn Guy Süß (University of Queensland, Australia), Neil Robinson (RGB Assurance, Australia), David Carrington (University of Queensland, Australia) and Paul Strooper (University of Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1643-1.ch008
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Abstract

Implementation of railway controller application logic is a highly safety-critical and time-consuming task carried out individually for each client and station by specialised signalling engineers, with corresponding high costs. M???a is a software development framework designed to create code generators for application logic for the client railway companies of Ansaldo STS that use the Microlok II controller to lower the cost and increase repeatability. This chapter describes the evolution of M???a from prototype to framework, and introduces the software engineering approaches of object-oriented meta-modelling and framework development along the way. It also presents known limitations and further application areas of the framework.
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Background

The Mint project is a joint project of Ansaldo STS and The University of Queensland. In the following section, we introduce Ansaldo and its business requirements. After that, we turn to Ansaldo’s Microlok system that forms the target platform of the Mint project, and describe its functionality in detail.

Ansaldo STS – International Railway Engineering

Ansaldo STS is a global railway engineering service provider that specializes in automation and turnkey delivery of passenger and freight rail systems. Ansaldo STS was created through a merger between Union Switch and Signal and Ansaldo Trasporti Sistemi Ferroviari, and US-American and European technologies determine its offerings. In 2009, Ansaldo STS achieved revenue of €1.176 billion and an operating income of €125.0 million, with 4,340 employees worldwide. Ansaldo's clients vary considerably by their operational objectives and implementation of railway principles. Clients range from metropolitan rail operators to mining rails, and stock spans from electrified high-speed locos to double-traction diesels. Communication may be by coded track, radio, or GSM-R; signals may be physical installations at trackside, or console indicators in the driver’s cabin. Ansaldo’s task is to manage these variations to provide safe signalling systems that respect the clients’ existing customs and requirements.

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