In a first for a mass rapid transit system in India, an indigenously developed signalling technology was launched on Saturday for operations on the Red Line of the Delhi Metro, officials said. India’s first-ever Indigenous Automatic Train Supervision System (i-ATS) has been developed by a joint team of DMRC and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), under the government of India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives for metro rail transit systems, they said.
The i-ATS system was formally launched on the Red Line from the Operations Control Centre (OCC) in Shastri Park by Manoj Joshi, the Secretary of Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, who is also Chairman of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
Vikas Kumar, Managing Director, DMRC and Bhanu Prakash Srivastava, Chairman & Managing Director, BEL, were also present during the inauguration.
Final field trials of the signalling technology were virtually inaugurated on the Red Line in March last year.
“In a significant development in the field of rail-based mass transit, the Delhi Metro today launched India’s first ever indigenously developed Train Control & Supervision System, the i-ATS (Indigenous – Automatic Train Supervision) for operations on its first corridor, Red Line (Rithala to Shaheed Sthal),” the DMRC said in a statement on Saturday.
It is a “historic occasion” for metros in India today as for the first time, trains are running on an “automated signalling system developed in our own country”, said Anuj Dayal, Principal Executive Director, Corporate Communications, DMRC.
“With this milestone, India is the sixth country to now join the elite list of a few countries in the world which have their own ATS products,” the statement said.
Beginning with Red Line, the i-ATS System will be further deployed for operations on Delhi Metro’s other operational corridors and the upcoming independent corridors of the Phase-IV project as well, officials said.
Preventive maintenance modules will also be introduced in the Phase-IV corridors using i-ATS.
In addition, i-ATS can be used in the operations of other rail-based systems including the Indian Railways. This technology has been developed with flexibility to work with different signalling vendor’s systems with suitable changes, the DMRC said.
The development of the i-ATS is a major step towards the development of an indigenously built CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) based signalling system for metro railway since the ATS is an important sub-system of the CBTC signalling system. ATS is a computer-based system, which manages train operations, the officials said.
This system is indispensable for high-train density operations such as the metro, where services are scheduled every few minutes. Technology systems such as the CBTC are primarily controlled by foreign countries.
The deployment of i-ATS will significantly reduce the dependence of Indian metros on foreign vendors dealing with such technologies, the statement said.
The MoHUA had earlier decided to indigenise the CBTC technology. Along with DMRC, MoHUA, BEL, RDSO and other associates are parts of this development, it said.
To take the project forward, DMRC and BEL had entered into an MoU in November 2022. A dedicated team of DMRC and BEL have been working together to prepare the technology for operations.
A full-fledged i-ATS Lab has been set up at DMRC’s IT Park to simulate the site requirements, and is now being upgraded for the development of the CBTC system, the statement said.