Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor: Next-generation Localization and Odometry

With the help of the Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor (MAROS), we enable precise, continuous, and safe localization up to SIL4 as well as odometry unaffected by slipping and sliding.

The challenge: Safe, track-selective localization up to SIL4

Train localization and detection systems such as balises and axle counters usually work quite well. On the downside, they deliver information only at certain points and are expensive to install. Moreover, these components have to be rolled out across great distances, so maintenance is time-consuming and requires the track to be shut down. This is one of the reasons why we set out to develop an onboard solution for track-selective train localization.

MAROS: Lokalisierung und Odometrie der nächsten Generation

Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor

Attached to the vehicle’s undercarriage, this sensor measures the rail’s unique magnetic fingerprint while the vehicle is in motion to reliably determine the train’s speed and exact position.

The solution: Localization and odometry via the rail’s magnetic fingerprint

ITK Engineering teamed up with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to develop a purely onboard, precise localization solution for rail traffic. We rely on our distinctive method expertise in secure, model-based development and its validation. One of the many challenges was to ensure efficient processing in the sensor from large amounts of data using data analytics methods. Here, an in-house development leads us to success: the ITK Data Lab Framework. 

Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor: Functionalities

An onboard sensor system is attached to the underside of the train and measures the ferromagnetic properties along the rail.

Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor: Applications

Der MAROS ermöglicht präzise, kontinuierliche und sichere Lokalisierung

MAROS: Multi-stage test system

The MAROS fulfills all requirements in terms of precision and availability that are placed on localization systems when used for ETCS L3, ATO and CBTC. We ensure this through a multi-level test system. In addition to testing in the laboratory and on our HiL test benches, test runs have already been carried out with operators from Germany and other european countries. In addition, we carry out commissioned test runs and the permanent recording of data.

The added value: High precision and availability

With this sensor, we offer the benefits of precision and availability for localization, for example, for ETCS Level 3, Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC). This onboard solution does not require any additional infrastructure, so there is no need to invest in outboard hardware or shut down tracks for maintenance. The Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor (MAROS) can be used on all metal tracks worldwide and is impervious to weather and GNSS signal limitations. The sensor is currently in the proof-of-concept phase. Initial trial runs have been conducted and more extensive assessment campaigns are in the works.

Zitatgeber Dr. Tobias Hofbauer
Copyright: Bosch Zünder / Martin Stollberg

The collaboration with KIT is going very well. We also achieved all our goals during trial runs. I am confident that the Magnetic Railway Onboard Sensor is an optimal solution for precise and safe localization in the rail sector.

Dr. Tobias Hofbaur, Program Manager Business Unit Rail



Track-selective localization safe up to SIL4

Cost efficiency in investment and maintenance


Independent of weather and GNSS signal

Unsolved challenges? We look forward to your inquiry.

Portrait Dr. Tobias Hofbauer

Mobility – Railway technology

Dr. Tobias Hofbaur

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