This article first appeared in the Railway-News Magazine Issue 1, 2022.
The global rail industry has long needed modernisation and system upgrades.
Legacy equipment and networks strain under the pressure of increased demand for capacity, in addition to changing expectations and regulations from passengers, industry associations and governments alike.
Challenges continue unabated. The industry is working towards more sustainable practices, which, for example, involve electrifying lines, searching for ways to improve energy efficiency and conservation, and investing in new greener solutions such as hydrogen-powered trains.
Then there’s the rise of digitalisation. Passengers now expect reliable connectivity when they travel, in addition to technical solutions that improve their customer experience – from real-time updates on the status of their journey through to hands-free payment options.
Uptake of the latter was accelerated by the arrival of Covid-19, the impact of which rocked the global railway industry. As people were told to avoid crowded spaces and keep contact to a minimum, interest in smart solutions grew as the sector looked for new ways to keep passengers safe while ensuring services continued to run smoothly.
All these factors have led to the emergence of the smart railway system.
Smart railways use the latest technologies – such as 5G, edge computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud computing, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and global positioning systems (GPS) – to improve safety and quality of service.
This technology is used to manage rail operations more efficiently by sharing data across rail infrastructure components. Today’s smart railway solutions include, but aren’t limited to:
Sintrones is a leading supplier of onboard computers for the rail sector. The company’s rugged in-vehicle computing systems meet the rigorous EN50155 requirements for vibration, shock, input voltage range, electrical isolation and extreme temperature, humidity and EMC. This ensures its solutions provide safe and stable operation in harsh environments such as high-speed trains.
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