Applied Software Engineering has recently become a Project Observer for the prestigious TCNOpen initiative, which aims to widen the use of collaboratively developed systems that adhere to an open standard. Managing Director Michael Darby said that this was an initiative in which he has a special interest, as it supports concepts of communication that he has long been interested in, and will prove to be of great value to the rail industry in general.
TCNOpen is an open source initiative in which the partner railway industries have aimed to collaborate in order to build in some key parts of new or upcoming railway standards, commonly known under the name TCN.
TCN (Train Communication Network) is a series of international standards developed by Working Group 43 of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), specifying a communication system for data communication within and between vehicles of a train. It is currently in use on many thousands of trains , allowing electronic devices to exchange information while operating aboard the same train.
TCNOpen follows the Open Source scheme, as the software is jointly developed by participating companies, according to their role, so as to achieve cheaper, quicker and better quality results. Companies wishing to join the initiative become part of the TCNOpen Interest Group and can collaborate in the specification, development and test of standard components or simply use them following an Open License Agreement.
TCNOpen’s general objective is to provide a suitable environment, the Open Interest Group, where partner companies can collaboratively develop new components that conform to the TCN standard. For each component, a specific Open Source Project will be started and will run through all required phases: specification, development, test, support. A first project is currently in progress, related to the development of the TRDP module.
TRDP (Train Real-time Data Protocol) is an intermediate module between the TCP or UDP protocols and the applications using the network. It can optionally include an additional safety layer (SDT). SDT is an end-to-end protocol over an untrusted communication channel. SDT fulfils IEC62280 (EN50159) and supports the transmission of safety related data between a safe data source and one or many safe data sinks.