Safety has long been the most significant issue and biggest challenge facing the transportation industry. According to the research from Global Industry Analysts, in 2015 the value of the global railroad transport industry will reach $800 billion. As a result, the cost of failure also increases dramatically. Communication errors, visibility issues and other human errors cause the majority of rail accidents year after year. Because of this, rail embedded systems have grown exponentially over the last decade, thus dramatically reducing the number of accidents caused by human error.
Last summer, a train derailment in Spain caused by a speeding train resulted in 80 deaths and dozens of injuries. This and other accidents have highlighted the importance of Positive Train Control (PTC), which can help prevent incidents like these. The PTC wayside servers incorporate embedded technology to communicate the speed and location of the train, as well as automatically stopping or slowing the train before an accident like the one above occurs.
Embedded systems are microcontroller-based systems built into technical equipment for a dedicated purpose. They are also known as a single purpose computer. Basically, an embedded system is a combination of hardware and software used to perform a specific task either completely or partially independent of human interaction. Embedded software applications are typically used for safety and business critical applications such as security, process controls and energy management applications, but we are continuously finding beneficial new ways to incorporate embedded systems into our daily lives.
Rail embedded technology can be divided into two main segments: Vehicles and System Technologies. Vehicle embedded systems include:
- Maintenance Control
- Tilt Control
- Automated Train Protection
- Passenger Information Systems
- Other Communications Functions
Rail System Technologies encompass traffic management and train protection as well as passenger information and passenger safety. Embedded applications have advanced the technologies used in all facets of rail, and these advancements continue to spread as rail systems are being improved and built to accommodate the expected increase of traffic, while greatly decreasing the probability of disasters.
PSA has successfully completed many Rail Industry technology projects for some of the largest rail development companies in the world including, many in embedded applications and environments.
We invite you to download the white-paper “The Top 3 Ways That Embedded Technologies Increase Rail Safety” to fast track your Rail Safety knowledge.