Future of Operations & Maintenance 2022

DB mindbox is excited to announce the upcoming 4th FOM program together with a number of strong partners headed by DB Netz AG.

In 2022 we are focusing on improving our legacy hardware and software. We consider weather-related technologies to derive forecasts and courses of action as well as innovative coatings and materials for more efficient work in the stations. Furthermore we place a special focus on sensor solutions.


This 100 day signature program gives startups the chance to customize and live-test their solution to real challenges that DB is facing. What is in for you?

  • Access to DB experts and data
  • Access to a network of selected coaching and mentoring experts
  • EUR 25,000, no equity taken.


You will be supported by a dedicated DB mindbox startup manager and will have 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 AG, Europe’s largest mobility and infrastructure provider.

Questions? Check out our FAQs.


Weather Resilience

The influence of climate change is increasing. The severe weather events that are appearing with greater frequency are increasingly threatening our infrastructure. We want to be steps ahead, to be able to counteract and secure our facilities, overhead lines, rails and other parts of our infrastructure in time. Can you help us find a solution to this problem? 

Weather analytics for train stations

The climate changes rapidly year by year. For a large infrastructure operator like Deutsche Bahn Group, it is essential to be prepared when weather conditions hit. Extreme heat and cold – even only in a very restricted area – can severely impact our highly interwoven traffic network. Can you derive recommendations from weather forecasting or other analytics? We are looking forward to your suggestions!

Infrastructure alerter for flooding counteraction

To prevent damage from heavy rainfalls, as seen this summer, we aspire to be steps ahead of the floods. ​ Can you help us merge different kind of data like the probability of precipitation, topography-data and other related information to build a precise yet early warning system? Can you inform direct action triggering us in the right way to prevent damages? Bring in your approach!

Combined solutions

Our infrastructure is increasingly at risk to be harmed due to the consequences of climate change. ​We need to gain insight into weather data, how it threatens our infrastructure, and approaches to respond accordingly.


Legacy Hardware

Most of the railway system has been maintained for decades. While we are working on the big upgrade, can you help us digitize under the given conditions? Bring your innovative solution into play to actively participate in these improvements! Help us to solve problems in a non-destructive way and without removing the protection of existing assets.

Interlocking system error detection

Imagine our rail traffic controllers noticing one of the lamps on their “Stellpult” is “off”. In older installations they cannot instantly say whether this is due to lamp or switch failure – and we still have 1400 of those!​ Can you help us trace the error by finding out whether the lamp is actually working or not? Pick your approach freely – from electric field detection to implementation of an additional check-button? Remember: we always need to comply with Bestandsschutz!


Workflow Tools

In order to run the largest railway operator in Europe, many systems have become indispensable for day-to-day business. They cover everything from coordination tasks to documenting processes to staff deployment planning. We seek to modernize the below mentioned systems with integrative solutions.

Legacy IT systems

We have many legacy systems running in our IT-landscape at DB Netz, be it for staff scheduling, materials handling and many other tasks. Can you build a state-of-the art user interface across this variety of tools? Can you flexibly address their interfaces to access and edit databases – and maybe even derive insights from new data for our processes?

Service facility allocation tool

In our annual allocation process of service facilities, we need a seamless and digitally supported coordination and decision tool for documentation and filing relevant documents such as protocols and legal documents. Can you build a system including interfaces to existing systems in order to ensure a regulation-proof allocation of our capacities in service facilities?


Stabling Transparency

DB welcomes competition on the railways as a driver for innovation and quality improvement for its customers. There are more and more competitors using our track infrastructure. We are looking for your innovative approaches to monitor and organize the shared use more transparently. 

Data analytics for stabling transparency

Germany welcomes competition of train operators on its tracks – thus, the variety of companies using stabling tracks is growing.​ Can you apply data from our dispatching & control system to help us detect parking trains throughout the grid? We are looking for ways to improve accuracy and transparency in our databases and derive insights from better structured data. If you can think of a clever way to achieve this, send us your application!

Your call

When we talk about stabling transparency, we have technologies like satellite imagery or sensor technology in mind. Are there other solutions to create trasparency that we haven't considered yet? We are looking forward to your ideas.


New Materials & Innovative Coatings

What could the lotus effect or fluorescent algae have to do with Deutsche Bahn? A lot, because we are open to all kinds of smart and new materials. Whether it’s noise-reducing coatings, anti-vandalism or weatherproof coatings, we want your innovative materials for every application. We also think beyond trains, for example for railroad tracks or stations. 


Coatings for train stations

Self-cleaning, self-fluorescent, heat-generating, shock-absorbing, high friction, super-rugged…new coatings are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the last years. Can you inspire us with innovative solutions and take us with you on your journey?

New materials for sustainable infrastructures

Sustainable, durable, lightweight or extremely flexible? We know that material science is moving fast. Take us on your journey along the material revolution! Join us to increase the use of new materials at Deutsche Bahn.

Open call

When you think of coatings & new materials, do you have a solution we do not dare to think of until now? Let's talk about it, we love to test things!


Sensor Solutions

The use of sensor solutions is becoming more and more important. We need your ideas to bring sensor technology into Deutsche Bahn Group for localization and the creation of transparency.

Sensor Networks for stabling transparency

A key challenge in our stabling tracks landscape is their vast number. This makes it hard to deploy sensors for train detection.​ Can you provide us with a precise, rugged and low-cost sensor network to improve transparency, thereby transforming our stabling facilities into smart hubs? Our aim is to identify separate trains and precisely document their stay. We are looking forward to your ideas!

Sensor tracking

When working in train maintenance, it's generally easier to move sensors & tools around than to move trains. Their location is therefore flexible - but we would like to track it down to mm-precision! This is e.g. to take measurements more efficiently or also enable documentation of completion when tracing tools like glue-guns. Ideally while moving around freely inside our depots of course - but we're happy to start small, too!

Your approach

Sensor technology can already do a lot these days. Do you have innovative approaches for sensor technology and new ideas on how to use them? Bring it on!



Application Deadline

Last day to apply for the program


Announcement of Candidates

Invitation of selected teams


Selection Day (tbc)

Pitch your idea on stage to a jury and audience


Start of Program

Start of the 100 day PoC to develop and test a prototype in cooperation with DB


End of Program

End of 100 day PoC and presentation of results