ISRO will now help CRIS on Indian Railways’ RTIS project to increase efficiency

The Indian Railways is on a relentless journey of becoming India’s preferred mode of transport for the supply chain industry, and has been amping up their game to upgrade itself. In another one of such an ambitious projects, the Indian Railways will now harness the power of data analytics for integrated transportation.

On 3rd March, the Union Minister for Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, spoke on the sidelines of a conference on ‘Reimagining Indian Railways: Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics for Integrated Transportation’ and said that the public domain transport system will start tracking train movements with the assistance of satellite imagery under its Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) project. Moving towards it, the Center for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) has collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to increase efficiency of the trains with live tracking technology.

ISRO’s inherent regional navigation satellite system called Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) and Bhuvan (a web-based utility to explore a set of map-based content) have been integrated into Railways’ systems and will be deployed for tracking.

“We have taken bandwidth from ISRO and integrated our systems with NavIC and Bhuvan. Every locomotive is fitted with a device and SIM, which communicates the train’s real position to the satellite and feedback is received. The movement is updated every three seconds. Until now, 4,000 locomotives have been installed with the technology, and new locomotives that are being manufactured come pre-installed with the tracking devices.”

D.K. Singh, Managing Director, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS)

Vaishnaw also said that a pilot project between the Ministry of Electronics, Information and Technology, and the Ministry of Railways will work on implementing quantum key encryption for non-hackable data exchange, by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI). “Communication flows from point A to point B but when it is encrypted or jumbled up through quantum key, it is increasingly complex to be hacked into,” Vaishnaw explained.

Singh said that the CRIS has identified 90 use cases where AI can be used for improving Railways services, including seat allocation, prediction analysis on when freight trains will be emptied, and balancing stocks of medicines across the Railways health infrastructure. “We crunch data and provide it to Zonal Railways for further problem solving,” he said.

Though the aforesaid upcoming projects are being implemented to make passenger movement more efficient, however, it is obvious that they will also be helpful in management of freight moving in rail wagons, apart from inducing better efficiency.


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