Chris Lohner's voice has arrived at the digital ÖBB train stations

The Austrian train service ÖBB (Österreichischen Bundesbahnen) are equipping all announcement systems with our high-quality text-to-speech technology. For this, we digitized the ÖBB's long-known, familiar voice - the Austrian actress Chris Lohner - and thus have ensured it is also available for future technologies.

Is that Chris Lohner herself or her digitized voice? Railroad fans in respective web forums have been unsure how to answer that question and are impressed: Ever since our text-to-speech systems were installed in Austria's train stations, people have been fairly unable to tell the announcement voices apart. This is exactly what we were aiming for. In the best case, passengers shouldn't notice any difference. By focussing on the ÖBB's individual requests, we have managed to get close to the pleasant sound of Ms Lohner's natural voice.

Through ingenious software technology, we turned recordings of Chris Lohner's voice into a digital voice, which can now be used for so-called text-to-speech (TTS) systems in English and German. These TTS systems convert written texts into speech spoken by her voice. Modifications and adjustments are basically one click away - crucial for up-to-the-minute reports and news.

"Our customers' train experience begins on the platform: We welcome travelers friendly, pleasantly and distinctively thanks to Chris Lohner's digital voice. We're placing our trust in tomorrow's technologies and are leading the analog train systems straight into the digital age", said ÖBB Chief Information Architect Dipl.-Ing. Michael Nahler. "In Aristech, we found a service provider that convinced us time and again with their flexibility and experience. That is the only way we could implement a project of this magnitude. The positive feedback from our passengers confirms our decision."

Recently, the voice was installed at the Vienna Central Station and at the train station Vienna Airport, and it will be installed at further 30 train stations before the end of this year. The ÖBB plans to gradually upgrade the announcements on all platforms, busses, and trains, as well as their call center, with our TTS systems. Using this innovative technology will guarantee the ÖBB state-of-the-art flexibility and long-term savings.

ÖBB: Austria's largest mobility services provider

As a provider of comprehensive mobility services, the ÖBB corporation takes 323 million passengers and 95 million tons of goods to their destinations in an environmentally friendly way every year. 100% of the electricity used on the railway lines is produced using sources of renewable energy. With a punctuality rate of 97%, the ÖBB ranked among the most reliable railway operators in Europe in 2021. Across the corporation around 42,000 employees working on the railway and bus networks (plus over 2,000 apprentices) ensure that some 1.3 million passengers safely reach their destinations every day. The Group's strategic lead company is the ÖBB-Holding AG.

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