Thales ,the French defence and civilian technologies giant, has offered the Delhi metro the same safety, communication and navigation systems, that help Dubai run its fully automated, driverless train networks.
The Delhi metro, which approximately in a day makes 2,400 trips and carries around 1.8 million passengers is set to enter a new phase of expansion, and the French company whose net-worth is around USD 16 billion has pitched forth its idea for a communication based train control system that is used by Dubai for its metro network, which is world's longest unmanned metro network stretching some 77.6 km.
"We saw Automation as the best option, and the certainty with which it has guaranteed us safety and punctuality, proved it to be the right choice" said Adnan Al Hammadi, Chief executive of Rail Agency, the part of Dubai's Road Transport Authority which runs the metro there.
Al Hammadi while making a presentation on the Dubai Metro, also told the group of visiting Indian journalists, that the result of the automated train system, has reduced the time between trains to under 4 minutes, increasing their punctuality to almost above 99 percent.
The indications during the pre-qualification exercises with potential vendors, by the officials at the Delhi Metro Rail Corp, the state run company that spearheads the service in the Indian Capital, is that the option of a communication based train control system is going to be given preference in the next expansion phase.
However whether the trains are going to be driverless or not is a matter of consideration that will be decided upon later.
"Thales is a world leader in communication- based train control, integrated supervision and communications systems , crucial for safety, security and efficiency of any metro system for the metro project" said Eric Lenseigne, country director for Thales India.
Thales helps not only supplies and installs rail signalling, communications and security systems for the metro to optimise safety and efficiency of operation in Dubai, but also helps in fare collection, a mix of both automation and manual processes.
According to Lenseigne Thales' automated train services ensure higher capacity on the metro rail network along with better train speeds, safe movement, traffic optimization, reliability as well as better tariff realization.
Thales also plans to compete for the upcoming metro projects in Hyderabad and Mumbai, since India plans to have a metro network in every major city with a population of over one million.
An estimated investment of ` 200,00 crore (USD 36 billion) by the government is supposed to be made in various metro projects across the country over the next ten years.
As a part of their bidding for the automated train systems the French group has installed its public address and display systems at 74 stations in the Indian capital, and apart from providing ticketing solutions Thales has bagged the contract for the ticketing system at Gurgaon.
Progressing on it has also won similar contract in Mumbai for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatgopar metro corridor, for the communications and passenger information systems and a supervisory system in the Bengaluru Metro Project.
Thales has had a business operation run of over six decades in India, covering military as well as civilian space, along with two joint venture agreements with Rolta and Samtel, it also owns a technology company in Chennai which aids in developing software for its global customers.