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Intelligent technology scouting for the rail transport sector

Based on Natural Language Processing combined with human expertise, a powerful technology scouting system can be developed.

Pilot development for the rail sector

A semi-automated technology scouting system can support the search for technologies with potential relevance for the rail transport sector. Within the framework of a pilot study on the design and implementation of such a system, a technical and functional concept was developed, selected functions were implemented in form of a prototype, an assessment was obtained from experts in the rail sector, and possible operating models were analysed.

Broad spectrum of use cases

The amount of information on technology innovations and their continuous growth poses increasingly challenges for knowledge management in the rail sector - on the one hand, the pace of innovation in the industry is growing. On the other hand, the spectrum is getting broader as technologies from neighbouring sectors and other industries become relevant as well. For many players in the rail sector, it is essential to be informed about current technology innovations without delay. Companies need assessments of maturity and areas of application to align their procurement, enter into cooperations, or make strategic decisions in product development. Research organizations and funding agencies need to classify technologies and their potential applications to develop targeted programs.



Frequent use among sector experts


Verifiability essential for acceptance

4 out of 5

Sector experts see high benefit


High accuracy of information extraction

Integration of expert knowledge

A technology scouting system that utilizes the potential of modern text analysis methods and artificial intelligence can partially automate the search for technologies by continuously extracting knowledge from sources of information, processing it, and presenting it interactively. At the same time, partial automation also means that the expertise of the sectors is incorporated - through review and input of knowledge and networking among experts in rail transport. In this way, the respective strengths of human and machine methods can be combined. In a research project, DZSF and d-fine have conceptually and prototypically investigated whether and how a human-machine technology scouting system can be developed and operated.

The article is available in German only.