Indian Railways is on a relentless journey to become India’s preferred mode of transport for the supply chain industry, and is upping its game to upgrade itself. In one such ambitious project, Indian Railways will now harness the power of data analytics for integrated transport.
On March 3, Union Railway Minister, Ashwini Vaishnab, spoke on the sidelines of a conference on ‘Reshaping Indian Railways: Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics for Integrated Transport’ and said that the public domain transport system will start tracking train movements. Support of satellite imagery under its Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) project. Moving towards this, the Center for Railway Information System (CRIS) has collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to enhance train efficiency with live tracking technology.
ISRO’s inherent regional navigation satellite system called Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) and Bhuban (a web-based utility for exploring a set of map-based content) have been integrated into the railway system and will be deployed for tracking.
“We have taken bandwidth from ISRO and integrated our systems with NavIC and Bhuvan. Each locomotive is fitted with a device and SIM, which communicates the actual location of the train to satellites and receives feedback. Movement is updated every three seconds. So far, 4,000 locomotives have been installed with the technology and new locomotives being built are pre-installed with tracking devices.
DK Singh, Managing Director, Center for Rail Information Systems (CRIS)
Vaishnav also said that a pilot project between the Ministry of Electronics, Information and Technology and Ministry of Railways will work on implementing quantum key encryption for non-hackable data exchange using artificial intelligence (AI). “Communication flows from point A to point B but when it’s encrypted or scrambled with a quantum key, it becomes increasingly complex to hack,” Vaishnav explains.
Singh said that CRIS has identified 90 use cases where AI can be used to improve rail services, including seat allocation, predictive analysis of when freight trains are empty and stock balancing of medicines across railways’ health infrastructure. “We crunch the data and provide it to Zonal Railways for further troubleshooting,” he said.
Although the aforementioned upcoming projects are being implemented to make passenger movement more efficient, it is clear that apart from introducing better efficiency, they will also help in handling freight movement in rail wagons.
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