August 11, 2020 – Last month, German railway company Deutsche Bahn AG went to tender for a EUR €4 million contract for the development of a mixed reality application for the training of the company’s maintenance personnel. The contract is part of Deutsche Bahn’s efforts to modernize its educational offering and informal learning process of its employees.
The contract is set to begin in April 2021, and is due to last a duration of four years until 2025, with options to extend for an additional four years. Deutsche Bahn outlined that it may commission the same service as part of any possible extension, and may also expand the agreement into further training topics outside of its infrastructure maintenance programs.
The company is asking that the end product must run on Android devices, and must have the capability to represent virtual information on specific points of real world objects. Therefore, an entirely virtual reality-based solution would not suffice, according to documentation from Deutsche Bahn.
The deadline for receipt of tenders is very soon (this one crept up on us due to being published entirely in German), with submissions required (in German) by August 13, 2020 at 12:00 CET (Berlin time).
According to Deutsche Bahn, virtual and augmented reality technologies have been an integral part of the company’s vocational training and professional development since 2018. The company notes that in this digital age, professions in the rail industry increasingly require specialized expertise. Railroad installations and facilities are constantly evolving and people need to learn how to use new technologies quickly. Training with VR technology is therefore something that the company considers as worthwhile for a number of technical professionals, including freight car inspectors, train drivers, industrial electrical engineers, and dispatchers.
One solution that the company is utilizing at the moment is a “virtual signal box”, which offers a VR simulation of a mechanical signal box used to train dispatchers. More applications are currently in development too, according to Deutsche Bahn, which uses its own virtual reality application called Engaging Virtual Education (EVE) to train its employees. VISCOPIC, a Munich-based startup in the DB mindbox incubator program, has also developed virtual training for the company using realistic holograms of switches.
For interested parties who still wish to find out how to submit a bid before the deadline, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: Deutsche Bahn