HomeBusinessScottish firms deliver new track-monitoring technology

Scottish firms deliver new track-monitoring technology


Two businesses have joined forces to deliver what they say is a new and more efficient way to monitor the condition of tracks, carried out while the train is moving.

Edinburgh-based Machines With Vision, which has been working with Network Rail in the UK and Deutsche Bahn in Germany, teamed up with product development specialists Wideblue, from Glasgow, to deliver the technology.

The collaborating businesses say their solution is 100 times more accurate than GPS and is able to work in difficult environments such as tunnels.  

It uses train-mounted cameras and sensors to build a map of the ground beneath the train offering precise data as to the train’s location; the system can capture and process images at up to 200km/hr to millimetre accuracy.  Complex algorithms and machine learning are then used to analyse the data collected.  The benefit for the railways is an inexpensive and efficient way of collecting data to optimise maintenance. 

To gain EMC compliance, Wideblue implemented a redesign of a key aspect of the system based on results from internal investigation and exploratory testing.  Support was also provided for the subsequent re-testing, enabling the product to be certified for full regulatory compliance. 

Mark Sansom, Wideblue.

Mark Sansom, project manager at Wideblue said: “It was vital that Machines with Vision’s equipment did not interfere with other systems on the train.  Following investigations into some malfunctions and identifying the root cause, we redesigned the core power supply of the system to make it compliant with railway regulatory standards for electromagnetic emissions and immunity.  

“Some mechanical modifications were also undertaken to accommodate the new power supply design and ensure a robust solution was delivered to Machines With Vision.” 

Tim Lukins, Machines With Vision.

Machines With Vision co-founder and chief technology officer, Tim Lukins, added: “It has been good experience working with the team at Wideblue.  

“We are not experts in the EMC compliance rules, so it was great having a partner with a detailed understanding of the regulations, product design and electronics to resolve the issue.”


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