GPS aided Guidance for Optimised Loco Driving help Railways cut fuel consumption

New Delhi: For a mass transport organisation which has no need for navigation aids, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is being put to a novel albeit unconventional use – to help reduce fuel consumption.The Indian Railways has devised a system for using GPS to provide advance inputs on the terrain lying ahead and advice to locomotive drivers to increase or decrease throttle before hand depending upon the gradient ahead.The trials of this system have already been conducted and the methodology has shown fuel saving up to 12 per cent, according to the latest report of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Railways that was tabled in the House this month.Termed Guidance for Optimised Loco Driving (GOLD), it assists in optimising fuel consumption by allowing the driver to increase the throttle and building momentum some distance before hitting an incline and thereby doing away with the need for a sudden surge of power that burns more fuel, or reducing throttle before a downward gradient.GOLD also alerts the locomotive crew of approaching signals, stations, and level-crossing gates ahead on the route. Based on the results of the trials, the Railways intends to proliferate the system across its fleet of locomotives.Indian Railways is the single largest consumer of diesel in the country, with its fleet of over 4,000 diesel locomotives consuming over 2 billion litres annually at a cost of about Rs 15,000 crore.