All Aboard The Digital Train: First Stop, A Safer Future

The title for the world’s fastest train currently belongs to the Lo Series in Japan, which set the record in 2015 with a top speed of 373mph. While the train is not currently ready for passenger use, it gives us a good indication of how consumer travel is likely to evolve in the coming years. The advances in passenger trains are seeing more than just faster speeds however; we are moving towards a fully ‘digital train’, which could become a reality as soon as 2020.

For passengers, a fully digital train would primarily offer improved safety on-board, along with an enhanced experience through better infotainment on board. Benefits for train operators would include improved routing and configuration, smart city integration and decision automation for scheduling maintenance. In addition, it could provide connected navigation to alert operators of potential network delays, journey changes and live weather situations.

Leading the train revolution

Across the world, advancements in rail are taking shape in many ways. Japan may boast the fastest train to date, but regions such as Germany and Sweden are leading the charge in train manufacturing and providing a digital rail experience for passengers. For example, Deutsche Bahn in Germany recently unveiled plans for a new train, named “Ideenzug” (“Idea Train”), which will be equipped with exercise bikes, a fitness studio, spaces with gaming consoles and noise-cancelling chairs. In addition, Swedish rail company, SJ, began trialling biometric chip implants in June 2017 as a replacement for paper train tickets. Passengers can have a microchip implanted in their hand which uses NFC (Near Field Communications) to display the ticket when scanned by the train conductor. These concepts are very much in the early stages, but give us a clear indication of innovations that the rail industry is aspiring to.

Embedded intelligence: giving rise to cognitive systems

The technology behind embedded intelligence is providing systems with the capability to collect and analyse important data to make intelligent decisions. It is already being used to allow digital trains to monitor their own operational performance, usage load and environment. Embedded intelligence enables digital trains to make simple decisions on the go, such as guiding passengers to avoid certain facilities (for example: a specific door or toilet not in service) and showing what other facilities are available.

How data will build the digital train

The data architecture of digital trains will play an …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec


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