Indian railways are the 4th largest railway network in the world. The British brought railways to India and we took the legacy ahead. With time, Indian railways evolved a lot, from the coal-driven engines to the bullet trains today. Indian railways have come a long way.
The maintenance and the safety of rail travel have always been a key concern of the government. Every day, more than 20,000 passengers trust the railways with their and travel through it, both long and short distances. It also means that Indian Railways is answerable to the families of 20,000 people if anything goes wrong. That is a huge responsibility and so it has no space for mistakes.
Traditional ways of maintenance.
All these years the major part of the maintenance and service of the trains has been the responsibility of the railway engineer. Though not as frequently as the other vehicles but railways need to be maintained too. Small queries do not lead to a breakdown of the railway, this is also the reason for its dependability. But these queries if left unattended for a long time can prove to be fatal.
Previously the train driver used to leave a note for the railway engineer. The note helped the railway engineer to decide the strategy of maintenance. But this cannot be completely depended on. If the driver does not realize and the engineer fails to recognize the problem, a mishap is just around the corner. So this system wasn’t very dependable.
Also, the maintenance is a human-based system. Humans do lack precision. And also there might be errors invisible or too intricate for the human eye to decipher. But this does not make them small. These small errors can be causes of big accidents and no one can be blamed for it.
In order to overcome this problem, now Indian railway has decided to take the help of Artificial Intelligence.
AI in railways
To overcome the human errors and to increase the safety factor, Indian railways have developed USTAAD- an AI-powered robot. USTAAD is the abbreviated form of Undergear Surveillance Through Artificial intelligence Assisted Droid. The main objective behind the development of USTAAD was to provide a more detailed scope for engineers to carry out their task.
How does ‘USTAAD’ work?
The robot clicks pictures and records videos of the undergears of the train. This happens at the real time. The robot then sends these clicked pictures and recorded videos to the engineers over Wi-Fi. These videos are played on a big screen and recorded for future reference. The camera of the robot can be rotated in any direction as per the commands of the engineers. The camera can zoom in at a particular spot in case of doubt. This gives the engineers the ability to observe the coaches while they are working, which is least possible in real life.
The camera is also equipped to work in dark areas or the areas of low light. It helps in the testing of the parts that humans cannot practically examine, either because they are cramped or small. With the use of this robot, the chances of errors missed by the human eye can also be caught. This substantially reduces the ratios of human errors. And in turn, increases the safety factor.
The carrier of 20,000 people is now taking its responsibility even more seriously. The need to test and ensure safety is an important factor. With the help of USTAAD Indian railways has set a new milestone. The introduction of new technology will only take things towards a better future.