Cable Security & alternative Technologies Challenge

DB Netz operates a complex railroad infrastructure with more than 30,000 km of cables that are the target of theft and manipulation. New measures need to be taken in order to prevent such actions, make them more difficult and to detect them live while they happen. In addition, new (radio) technologies are needed with the goal of replacing cable systems or at least to act as a backup system.

This program gives startups the chance to customize and live-test their solution facing real DB challenges. What is in for you?

  • Access to DB experts and data
  • The opportunity to test your solution at a real track section during the DB mindbox challenge
  • Compensation for participating in the challenge week
  • Possible follow-up cooperation with DB Netz
  • Support by our DB mindbox startup managers and 24/7 access to our coworking space


This is a great opportunity to lay the foundation for joint projects and successful long-term collaboration with Deutsche Bahn Group, Europe’s largest mobility and infrastructure provider.

More details concerning the setup of this challenge will follow soon.

Questions? Check out our FAQs.


Cable Security & Alternative Technologies

In their current state, cables are one of the backbones of our infrastructure. We are looking for solutions that can either adequately protect them, make the entire cable/transmission system more redundant or replace them altogether. The solutions should work on a large scale. Our main focus for cable protection is on existing cables, but we are also interested in solutions that could help with newly laid cables.

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© Deutsche Bahn AG / Pablo Castagnola
Theft | Tampering prevention

We are looking for solutions that will enable better precautions and prevent theft and tampering with our existing cable infrastructure. Please note: The majority of the installed cables are located in concrete cable routing systems with an easily removable concrete cover.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Patrick Kuschfeld
Cable protection

We are looking for solutions to help us protect our existing cables (mostly installed in concrete cable routing systems). These measures should make it as difficult as possible to tamper with the cables. Is there a solution that bundles existing cables and sheaths them with a cut-resistant material? Or is there a material that can be easily applied to protect it and can only be removed with the right tools? In the case of concrete cable routing systems, is there a special adhesive to seal these systems and a special chemical to open them?

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Max Lautenschläger
Theft | Tampering live detection

We are looking for solutions that trigger a live alarm as soon as unauthorized people try to steal or manipulate the cables. It is important to be as accurate as possible and to exclude false alarms. Is there any kind of sensor that provides such a solution? Or are there any well-trained algorithms for fiber optic cable sensing? Maybe you have another unique idea on how to protect these cables?

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Max Lautenschläger
(Radio) technologies | Cable alternatives | Other solutions

We are looking for solutions that act as a replacement or at least a backup system for vulnerable infrastructures such as cables. Is there a (radio) technology or other approaches that can work on a large scale and in an economic matter? Or do you have a solution that helps us address these issues, but it doesn't fit into any of the other clusters? Don't stop here and share your unique idea with us. We are open to any creative approach.


Format - what is a challenge like?

During a mindbox challenge, several startups are working on a stated problem within an intensive project phase. The teams will meet on-site (probably in Berlin) where they have the opportunity to meet DB experts and have a closer look at real DB infrastructure relevant to the challenge topic.

The deadline for applications is 31st January 2023. More information about the timeline will be announced shortly. Stay tuned, more details.

Apply now