Network Rail and SBB to Collaborate on Deploying AI Technologies

Network Rail has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SBB to collaborate on deploying technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) on the railway.

The agreement marks the first step in Network Rail’s plan to strengthen ties with international railway operators by sharing knowledge and best practice.

The agreement was signed by Network Rail and SBB on 24 July 2023
The agreement was signed by Network Rail and SBB on 24 July 2023

This ambition is part of Network Rail’s newly formed International Research & Development Partnership Programme (IRDPP), which aims to develop technology to improve the railway for passengers and freight customers while enhancing safety for all.

Robert Ampomah, Network Rail’s Chief Technology Officer said:

“This partnership marks a major step for us as an organisation, partnering with the international rail community, to share experiences in operating a railway. Looking at what works and what doesn't, will, help us shape and develop innovative technology that will go towards modernising the railway.

“There has always been a history of information sharing with rail colleagues nationally and internationally but signing the MoU today with SBB solidifies our commitment to work more closely together.”

The partnership with SBB will initially focus on deploying AI technology for use in inspecting steel bridges and tracks. Specifically, this will help improve switches and crosses and light-rail remote condition monitoring.

All projects developed as part of IRDPP will be jointly funded with shared responsibilities for resources, testing capabilities and best practices.

Roland Mosner, SBB’s Head of Technology, said:

“It has been fundamental to us as an organisation to continue to look forward in terms of sharing best practices and advances in applied research and development.

“By jointly improving our operational excellence we strive for the best returns for our passengers and customers. The signing of the MoU with Network Rail is one giant step in keeping the momentum moving in the right direction. We welcome the opportunity to collaboratively work with Network Rail and to share the positive outcomes this will bring.”

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