NEW DELHI: With fog affecting schedule of several trains during winter, Indian Railways is likely to do trials of ‘Tri-Netra’, a device to help loco pilots to see signals on the route and also detect obstruction on track ahead to prevent collision or mishap. Railway is coming out with a tender for companies to bid for a third eye for loco pilots in November. The idea is to start some pilot projectsahead of winter season to test the technology available. Some trials have already happened to understand the kind of technology and equipments needed to provide artificial vision to drivers.
Some experiments are being done with Tata and an Israel based company to know the specifications. Railway has zeroed in on camera specifications and algorithm has been designed. Railway want the equipment to be able to see the signal post or any other obstruction on the track from a distance of 1 km so that it can alert the driver.
“During fog season when visibility falls to below zero, if loco pilot can see track or signal post a kilometer ahead then he can drive at an optimum speed limit rather than crawling because of poor visibility. This can help maintaining speed of trains at 30-40 kmph and also avoid accidents,” said a senior railway ministry official.
Locomotive drivers, while driving the trains, rely purely on visual clues and visual images besides signal to look out for obstruction on track ahead to prevent collision or mishap. The objective is to enable the locomotive driver to visualize and warn about infringing objects from a reasonable far away distance so as to enable them to apply brakes sufficiently in advance to stop the train.
Railways want that device must work in day as well as at night, all types of weathers types like dense fog conditions, with uniformly consistent results even in difficult terrain areas.
The technology will be able to do thermal imaging and give picture of obstruction like trees, boulders, humans, stranded vehicles, moving object like another train. The equipment will have all the necessary cameras, antennas, sensors for visualizing the track ahead in the direction of motion which shall be mounted on either ends of the locomotive.
Specifications and design of critical components shall also be approved by RDSO (Research Designs & Standards Organisation), railways research arm, before they are fitted.