The rail industry is constantly looking at ways of moving forward into a new era and with train delays becoming the norm for many passengers, perhaps it is time to look at technology to prevent delays.
Technology could make it possible for systems to detect when a track, equipment or other equipment is likely to fail. This could be done using 3D modelling and sensors that use big data and Augmented Reality to locate those failing components, faults and follow instructions to assist them in carrying out repairs.
The project is working with the University of the West of England as well as smart engineering solutions company Costain and Enable My Team a new technology to start up to take it forward. Sensors that form part of a network of Internet of Things (IoT) will initially be installed at London Bridge Station in 2019.
The sensors will collect data from tracks and station facilities which will include ventilation systems, barriers and lighting before sending the data to software known as i-RAMP. Using Artificial Intelligence the data will be analysed in order to identify when a fault is likely to occur as well as any stress points or failures on components using a 3D virtual model. The plan is to roll the system out in 2021.
The aim of the technology and the system is to help deal with the way in which train delays affect the lives of travellers, businesses and the economy, many of which are caused by faulty signal boxes or broken tracks. The system will make it possible for companies to rectify a problem before it actually becomes a problem but more importantly, it stops commuting from being disrupted. This is all done through the use of IoT sensors located in the station and on the track. The IoT sensors have the ability to transmit a wide range of data such as vibration, strain and pressure on structures. As a result train companies will be able to actively monitor the network at the same time, enabling them to take action when required.
Engineers will also have access to make use of Augmented Reality (AR) technology that will give them the scope to identify the location of any faulty components while also receiving guidance on how to rectify the problem. This will be done through wearing a headset, where they can view instructions that are overlaid over the area that they are repairing or replacing.