TÜV SÜD has approved the development of the pioneering concept from Doppelmayr / Garaventa for the autonomous passenger operation of a cable car. An important milestone was the opening of the first AURO cable car in Zermatt, Switzerland in December 2020. The autonomous operation also requires a new approach to testing.
"Up until now, at least one cable car operator had to be present in the station to ensure that passengers could get on and off," says Dr. Georg Schober, Head of Transportation at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH. With AURO (Autonomous Ropeway Operation) from Doppelmayr / Garaventa, this task is replaced by technical safety devices. The level of security must at least correspond to the current state of the art and the socially accepted level of risk.
The valley and mountain stations of the first AURO cable car, the Kumme gondola in Zermatt, are unoccupied. The system is controlled via the Ropeway Operation Center (ROC) in the middle station and monitored with cameras. It has a large number of sensors, especially in the entry and exit areas of the cabins. The system independently recognizes situations that deviate from "normal operation". For example, if a passenger gets stuck in the cabin door with their ski boots, the lift is automatically switched off. At the platform boundaries there are emergency stop buttons and intercom devices that passengers can use to communicate directly with the cable car operator in the ROC if necessary. "The perfect synergy of people and advanced technology not only guarantees passenger safety,
“A concept as innovative and complex as AURO also requires a new approach to testing during development,” explains Richard Dietzsch, senior expert for cable cars at TÜV SÜD. In the overall assessment, not only sensor-electrical components but also mechanical monitoring devices, various interfaces to control technology and legal aspects must be taken into account. "In terms of the approach, we were able to benefit from our experience from similarly demanding projects and systems such as the driverless subway in Nuremberg or the development of a guideline for Hyperloop systems," says Dietzsch. At the Kumme gondola lift in Zermatt, the TÜV SÜD experts checked the correct implementation and function of the AURO concept before it went into operation.
According to Dr. Georg Schober pointing the way for the entire industry. “The security tasks of the company employee are increasingly being supplemented and replaced by technical solutions. This is the only way to combine the requirements for the safe transport of passengers and the economical operation of cable cars in the long term. "
TÜV SÜD expertise for cable cars
The cable car experts from TÜV SÜD undertake all legally required tests and conformity assessments that are necessary for the placing on the market and the safe operation of the systems. These include, for example, acceptance tests and recurring tests of cable cars and surface lifts, tests of material cable cars with and without restricted passenger transport, as well as safety analyzes and safety reports. Other important areas of activity are the conformity assessment of safety components and subsystems according to the European ropeway regulation 2016/424 as well as non-destructive material tests such as the magnetic induction testing of steel wire ropes for passenger transport systems.
An overview of all TÜV SÜD services for the safety of cable cars is available at www.tuvsud.com/seilbahn-sicherheit