Railways to roll out ‘Smart Coaches’ soon

100 new such coaches are to be rolled out! The state-of-the-art coach has been built on LHB platform and has vibration-based self-power harvesting sensor on the axle box, which will predict the defects on the bearings, wheel defects and hard spot (defects) on the track.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has built a new “Smart Coach” having several new features. The newly turned out smart coach built indigenously under the make in India Initiative equipped with the latest state of art technology in the field. 100 new such coaches are to be rolled out in the near future. Soon, railway coaches will be as ‘smart’ as metro trains. These trains will be equipped with modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence to enhance the security of passengers and improve train efficiency. First such state-of-the-art coach was unveiled at the Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli on Tuesday, and the Railways plans to make 100 such trains as a pilot project. Called ‘Smart Trains’, these coaches will have sensors that can detect defects on bearings, wheels and railway track, giving authorities constant feedback. Early detection of these faults will enable Railways to plan maintenance in advance, and avoid accidents, which will boost train efficiency. Besides, the modern infotainment system installed in it will enable you to locate train in real time. Artificial Intelligence-powered CCTVs would help officials keep a tab on any untoward incident. People will also be able to communicate with the railway staff regarding any assistance.

The state-of-the-art coach is equipped with modern sensors and centralised computer to monitor the status of all sensors through a single window. It has been built on LHB platform and has vibration-based self-power harvesting sensor on the axle box, which will predict the defects on the bearings, wheel defects and hard spot (defects) on the track.

“Basically, we made this coach intelligent, which means we turn it into a coach that can sense passengers’ requirements, react according to that. Similarly, this coach will alert authorities on maintenance, safety and security front too. The black box installed in the coach would ensure all these things are constantly being monitored. This infotainment system will not only provide analytics-based passenger information, entertainment facilities like Wi-Fi but will also keep air conditioning and water levels at a check,” Rajesh Agarwal, General Manager, Modern Coach Factory, said.

The Central Processing Unit, known as ‘PICCU’ (Passenger Information and Coach Computing Unit), an industrial grade computer has been provided with GSM network and will primarily monitor the important area of coach maintenance and passenger interface. The passenger information system will inform the passengers about the current location of the train and also the expected time of arrival at the next station. This system can also show the speed of the train, the statement said.

Arun Arora, Principal CME, Railways, said: “This is an age of the smart device. Form mobile phones to music systems, everything is smart these days. We have tried to leverage on this technology. We hope to soon install it in the Kaifiyat Express.”

CCTV with artificial intelligence capability will enhance the security of the passengers and also monitor the behaviour and activities of on board railway staff. “The footage will also help in an investigation into any untoward incident during the journey and identifying the culprits and indirect intervention from a remote control centre,” the ministry said. The coach is also provided with the emergency talk back system for communication between the passengers (especially woman and child) and the guard of the train so that necessary assistance can be provided. It also has Wi-fi hot spot information system. An additional cost of all systems/all equipment will be approximately Rs 12-14 lakh, which can be recovered in a year or so, the ministry said.

A pilot project is being launched to turn out a minimum 100 more smart coaches to gain experience and validate. “Once these sensors will be installed in these coaches, we will monitor them in trials and see if any modification is required,” said Arora.

Equipped with state of the art sensors

Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli has turned out a smart Coach No.18155 LACCN. This coach is on LHB platform and equipped with state of the art sensors and centralized computer to monitor the status of all sensors through a single window.

Coach diagnostic system

The Energy harvester based sensor monitors the condition of wheel, bearing and hard spots on the Track. The same is fed to the data concentrator and transmitted via GPS/GPRS to a remote server. The data can be used for diagnosis.

Surveillance & security

6 cameras fitted on the coach give live recording. With PICCU footage can be accessed from control centre itself.

WLI [water level indicator]

A SMS shall be sent to the next watering station when the water level falls below half. This can be programmed at the base monitoring unit [Coaching Depot].

Digital destination board

Automated GPS based announcement triggers from PICCU using pre-recorded voice segments regarding speed of train, next station name, distance remaining, expected time of arrival, delay and safety messages.

WI-FI infotainment system& emergency talk back

Passengers can view Movies, Songs, Videos, Play Games and also view journey progression on their handhelds using mobile based Application.

Further improvements planned in Version 2.0

i) HVACItem being proposed are HEPA filter Clogged filter indicator, Air quality index Particulate pollution PM 10, PM 2.5CO2, SO2 level monitoring, Electrostatic filter, UV filter power consumption compressor cycle monitoring Fresh air monitoring.

ii) Video analytics with face detection feature & unusual occurrence feature.Fire and smoke detection unit with integration to PICCU, PA/PIS system for emergency evacuation.

iii) Energy metering module to measure the energy consumption of coach.iv) Integration of WSP of M/s Knorr and M/s Faiveley.v) Toilet occupancy status.

vi) Logging of passenger’s need/complaint.