While various machines in rail systems can communicate with each other with ease, the Internet of Things could make such systems smarter. The added connectivity that comes with the IoT would make any system a little more operational and useful while also being potentially safer.
The IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a network where physical items are connected to one another and can exchange information between each other. A series of embedded sensors are utilized to gather data in the IoT. All components can be controlled through a remote or dashboard that reads information on how all items are operating.
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The Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure platforms have utilized IoT functionality in recent times. IBM’s famous Watson computer also does the same.
How Technology Works
The Internet of Things requires several parts for it to stay operational when reviewing trains. Sensors are first applied to various items in the rail system. These include not only the trains themselves but also at train stops and depots plus the tracks they ride on. Additional cameras may also be applied along tracks and train cars for real-time looks at what is happening inside them.
The IoT requires data for it to stay operational. The data gathered through the IoT is prepared through software that links to sensors and cameras. The information that is read will vary by each model with some offering full readouts of technical features inside certain parts.
This all works with regular readouts to analyze conditions like how hot certain mechanical parts are, how quickly a train is moving, and so forth. General reports on how much time it takes for a train to load up and stay operational may also be included. The analysis included in such reports gives everyone a clear idea of how well a train is working, thus improving upon how well it can be maintained.
What Benefits Come About?
The advantages of the IoT include help for monitoring everything happening with a rail system at a given time. The full analysis and review feature included in the IoT ensures that all data being reviewed and managed at a given time is handled properly and without error.
With the IoT, a rail operator can figure out which trains are operating normally and which need to be improved upon. Information on what units need to be maintained or fixed up can also be found, thus keeping preventative maintenance costs down.
Delays are less likely to develop as well. As data is analyzed sooner, it becomes easier for the trains to stay active and operational. The information that is reviewed could entail reports on trains that are running slowly, thus giving the operator an idea of what is causing a train to keep from working as quickly or efficiently as it should.
An Example in Taiwan
One instance of how the Internet of Things can work for smart railway systems entails what has been used in Taiwan in recent times. A case study from IBM reports that the Taiwan High-Speed Rail system has been using the Internet of Things to its advantage in recent times.
The IoT uses a series of extensive sensors and links within its rolling stock to identify how individual trains are operating. This includes information on how individual train parts are working, how much maintenance is required, and where these trains are at a given time.
The maintenance inventory is regularly updated with information on what parts are available. This matches up with real-time information on the rolling stock to determine which trains need to be maintained or fixed right now.
Additional reports on train tracks, stations, and sensors are also used on a regular basis. These reports help with identifying many points relating to how well a train system is operating.
As this proves, the Internet of Things will make a real difference when keeping trains operational. As trains are monitored regularly and more data on them is found in real-time, it becomes easier for a train system to stay operational. This especially keeps trains from breaking down thanks to the added surveillance and analysis that comes with the IoT.