Toronto-based technology company Invision AI, Thales and Metrolinx have successfully completed the WinterTech Programme based on advanced autonomous technologies installed on a Metrolinx GO train.
The programme, performed for a period of 18 months, validates the functionality and reliability of a cutting edge rail-centric system providing enhanced situational awareness, safety enhancements and operational benefits, through all weather conditions.
Since January 2021, a Metrolinx GO train has been equipped with the system, successfully operating in shadow mode on multiple lines in Toronto, collecting data from various sensors, including radars, cameras and lidar, powered by cyber-secured 4G/LTE capabilities. This data was used to train the system to recognise obstacles and other hazards in all weather conditions.
For rail transit operators, the benefits of this new solution include enhanced safety through sensors detecting and tracking potential obstacles, rapid installation time due to the minimal equipment footprint, 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. The modular solution can support further upgrades. It can be combined with smart monitoring systems at level crossings and stations, to provide further safety enhancements by enabling beyond-line-of-sight reactions for approaching trains.
“We brought together the partners with the software, hardware and operational expertise to build an autonomous rail system capable of withstanding our harsh Canadian winter,” Karim Ali, the CEO of Invision AI said.
The implementation of advanced autonomous technologies is supported by the Ontario Government which aims at transport digitalisation, a strategy which also includes the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation and WinterTech Development programmes. This project positions Canada to be the first to introduce advanced driver assistance and autonomous technologies that can function in all weather conditions.