Home BIG STORY Odisha varsity students develop device that can detect fault in railway tracks

Odisha varsity students develop device that can detect fault in railway tracks

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Sambalpur: A team of six students of Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT), Sambalpur in Odisha have developed an Artificial Intelligence-enabled system which can detect faults in railway tracks and prevent accidents before 1 km of the fault.

Under the system, the railway track is equipped with vibration sensor – PVDF which is integrated with NFC/Bluetooth module. Real time data transmission takes place to whichever train comes to its zone. The specially developed algorithm and software helps in analyzing the results and giving a warning signal to the train driver. It also sends an alert signal to the concerned authorities from the train in case of fault detection.

The team observed that the current methodologies under consideration for health monitoring of railway tracks includes involvement of large manpower and Ultrasonic Detector. Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR) technology has been developed and under lab improvements for real life purpose. But none of the latest developments has potential for real time monitoring and warning a live train on the track.

“Envisioning our Prime Minister’s aim for bullet train, it’s extremely important for us to consider safety of our citizens. We tried to develop a robust system to look down to cracks/faults as small as 1 cm in real time,” said Biswajit Padhi, a team member.

Sandeep Kumar Misra, another member who is working on the software part, mentioned: “We are looking forward to patent our software (specially developed algorithms) which can not only analyze and detect faults but also slow down the train in case of lack of manual effort. Thus, the system (trains) can be automatized in the future.”

“The nation needs such technology and we wish the government should take initiative to help these students develop the product for our future,” the team said in a statement.

Joshit Mohanty, Vishal Kabi, Himansu Satapathy, Mukesh Patro are other members of the team.

The team was guided by J B Lakra, Assistant Professor of VSSUT.

In 2015-16, there were 106 rail accidents in India, 60% of which were derailments. A government report on the safety of Indian Railways noted that officials were having “difficulty in giving time” to maintain rail infrastructure.

Reports suggest that the accidents and deaths in 2017-18 so far are close to 100. People have died in more than 35 train derailments and mishaps. In 2015-16, most of train accidents were caused due to derailments (60 per cent), followed by accidents at level crossings (33 per cent). The derailments are mostly due to faults in fish plate joints.