Tuesday, June 28, 2016

By Richa Sharma | Express News Service    Published: 26th June 2016 

A train passes by the site of an accident. (File | AP)


NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is getting a third eye to look out for obstruction on track ahead to prevent collision or mishap. India will be the first country in the world to use radar and laser based terrain imagining vision system called ‘Tri-Netra’ in railways for monitoring obstructions on tracks. The device will also be able to record all the events on the tracks ahead in for post‐event analysis.

The Ministry of Railways has invited global tender from companies to design, develop and implement Tri-Netra for locomotives in a phased manner. The idea has been mooted by Member Mechanical Railway Board Hemant Kumar and the cost will be decided after companies present their technical bids next week. 

Three companies – two from Israel and one UK have shown interests in designing the equipment that can give loco pilot (drivers) vision to see images of objects on track ahead in a range of 1 kilometer on a display panel inside the locomotive.

“It is for the first time that infra red and laser technology is used by any railways in the world to prevent collision. None of the companies have this kind of technology avialable now but they have approached us that they can design it for us,” said sources in the railway ministry, adding the technology so far is only used in combat activities. 

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 such infringing objects from a reasonable far away distance so as to enable them to apply brakes sufficiently in advance to stop the train.

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. As per the last NCRB data, nearly 27,000 people died in train accidents in 2014 with majority of deaths due to fall from trains/collision of trains with people on tracks. 

“It is for the company to decide the technology they adopt that meets the end result of pre‐warning the locomotive driver well in advance and give an audio‐visual warning on an ergonomically placed console. The company will quote the price as there is no existing technology presently used anywhere in the world,” said sources.

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. The display should not distract the driver with flashes, alarms during normal condition but warm them about images likely to pose danger in red colour. 

Specifications and design of critical components shall also be approved by RDSO (Research Designs & Standards Organisation), railways research arm, before they are fitted. 

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.

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