Dr. Enno Littmann, Geschäftsführer der IHSE GmbH. Foto: IHSE GmbH

eMove360° Interview: What do keyboard, video and mouse have to do with mobility?

In an interview for the current issue of eMove360°Magazine in german language, Dr. Enno Littmann, CEO of IHSE GmbH, explains the increasing importance of control centers for the various forms of mobility and what KVM technology in traffic control centers is all about.

Dr. Littmann, you are a developer and manufacturer of KVM devices. What exactly does that mean?

Dr. Enno Littmann: KVM stands for “Keyboard, Video, Mouse”. KVM technology makes it possible to operate several computers or servers from a central console in real time. In addition to the possibility of central monitoring, KVM creates a flexible working environment in which operators can switch seamlessly between different computers and applications and use them together without noticing the spatial separation in the work processes. KVM technology is at its best when users don’t even notice it, because it is intended to simplify work processes and not be the focus of attention itself.

Where is KVM technology used in the field of mobility?

Littmann: It starts with the development of cars. While traditionally relatively inflexible clay models were used, many manufacturers have now switched to a digital process: Designers work together on 3D visualizations. KVM is used so that these can be called up in real time from all workstations, as well as on presentation surfaces and video walls, and can even be tested with virtual reality simulators. The technology enables fast access from anywhere and sharing, i.e. collaboration between spatially separated users, as well as the distribution of content to displays and, of course, multi-signal support, which includes VR and AR realizations.

But KVM has also become a decisive factor in traffic monitoring.

To what extent does KVM monitor traffic and mobility?

Littmann: KVM technology enables centralized and efficient control over various aspects of mobility. In areas such as public transport, logistics and supply chain management, KVM systems enable the central monitoring and control of multiple vehicles from a central control center.

KVM technology has long been a fixture in larger traffic systems beyond road traffic, for example for monitoring and controlling rail traffic operations or in air traffic control. Our KVM systems are used at many large airports, including Frankfurt, and in American air traffic control, as well as for the Sydney commuter rail system and the Israeli state railroad company.

But highway operators also use our KVM to monitor the flow of traffic and control it in real time if necessary, for example by activating lighting systems or speed limit displays from a central control center.

Autonomous driving is the big topic for the future of mobility. What function does KVM fulfill in this field?

Littmann: The keyword here is also the control center, in which all information converges and is switched via a KVM system. The autonomous and semi-autonomous traffic of the future is only possible with the help of central control centers that collect and validate all traffic data – for example via sensors on the vehicles or from external sources such as weather services – and derive recommendations for action or take measures, such as rerouting traffic or informing emergency services.

Control centers serve as central control points to coordinate the movements of autonomous vehicles. This is crucial in order to avoid collisions and ensure a smooth flow of traffic. Interaction with the vehicle systems plays a crucial role in autonomous and connected vehicles. The control centre provides road users with the relevant information in real time in order to optimize the flow of traffic.

This not only enables traffic to flow safely and as safely as possible, but also reduces congestion, noise and emissions.

Over the past three years, you have been involved in the ALFRIED research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, which developed new concepts for automated and connected driving. What were your objectives?

Littmann: Our task was to develop a smart city control center in which we would test which requirements such control rooms would have to meet for the traffic of the future. The smart city control center is designed as an open demonstration center that simulates real traffic operations.

The KVM system collects all incoming data and makes it available to the operators in order to manage the traffic flow. Together with our cooperation partners from research and industry, we were able to develop and test various concepts under real conditions and present them to the public.

Where do you see the major challenges for the mobility of the future?

Littmann : The control center will be at the heart of the mobility of the future to an even greater extent than it is today. Traffic control centers are part of the critical infrastructure and as such must be protected against cyber attacks.

Security gaps can lead to enormous traffic disruptions, accidents, restrictions in emergency services and much more. The traffic control centers of the future must therefore meet security requirements that are not yet sufficiently taken into account by current commercial control center concepts.

We have developed such a security concept for the Smart City control center, which uses the KVM system to eliminate the dangers of internal and external security threats on many levels. Especially in times of cyber attacks, the IT systems used must have the highest level of data and access security by identifying the weak points and securing them with cyber-resilient IT systems.

With improved defense mechanisms in all areas of new mobility, I am very confident about the new forms of autonomous transport systems and am convinced that we as a whole society will benefit enormously from the possibilities.

Read more interviews, articles and studies on electromobility & autonomous driving in the current issue of eMove360° magazine in german language. Print edition – also available as an annual subscription – can be ordered in the eMove360° store.

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05.04.2024   |  

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