Environment and Sustainability, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Project expands the future of autonomous rail

THALES, Invision AI and Metrolinx have teamed up to develop advanced autonomous technologies for rail systems with support from government agencies in Canada.

THALES, a global leader in high technology solutions, Invision AI, a Toronto-based technology start-up and Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency for the Province of Ontario, have joined forces to help shape the future of transit technology.

The project is supported by the Ontario government’s AVIN’s WinterTech Development program and is led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation. WinterTech supports small and medium-sized enterprises and their partners by commercializing winter-ready innovative mobility solutions.

Invision AI, Thales and Metrolinx are building sensing and computing capabilities that provide enhanced situational awareness to existing rail systems and are capable of operating in severe winter conditions. The goal of this partnership is to build a platform that will ultimately enable deployments in urban, regional and mainline rail networks globally.

Within a six-month period, the system was prototyped and installed on a Metrolinx GO train, operating on multiple lines in Toronto, Ontario.

The data gathering activities will continue for an additional six months in different weather and environmental conditions.

 

Moreover, the technology equipped on the train is providing real-time information and data – such as next generation positioning, train telemetry, and diagnostics information – to ensure the system is running smoothly.

For operators, the benefits of this new solution include enhanced safety, rapid installation time due to the minimal equipment footprint, enhanced ‘look ahead’ sensing to detect and track potential obstacles, and accurate real-time data collection crucial for maintenance and operations teams. For passengers, this will contribute to fewer delays, improved safety and enhanced reliability of the network.

“Thales is proud to partner with Metrolinx and the Ontario Centre of Innovation to create a solution that will improve transit systems for both operators and passengers,” said Mark Halinaty, president and CEO, Thales Canada.

“Partnering ahead of the train, along with a cyber secured 4G/LTE connected data collection and equipped on the front of the train and includes; radars, cameras and lidar, for multi-spectral sensing processing system.

“These technologies actively collect important data which can then

be used to train the system to recognize obstacles and other dangers.

with Invision AI has been a fantastic experience and showcases the power of collaboration to reach a common goal; bringing world-class transit solutions to Ontario.”

Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said they were proud to support the initiative with Invision and Thales.

“A focus on safety is central to delivering a world class transit system, and innovative solutions like this one are an important part of this work,” he said.

Ontario economic development minister Vic Fedeli said the partnership between Invision AI, Thales and Metrolinx offered “enhanced safety and efficiency for rail systems around the world, particularly those operating in harsh winter climates”.

“It’s an endeavour we’re very proud to support,” Fedeli said.

 

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