Bombardier Transportation, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and McMaster RFID Applications Lab (MRAL) are collaboratively investing 1.4 million dollars for research to develop technology that can be of use to subway drivers so that they know exactly where trackside workers are located at any given time.
Keith Sheardown, general manager of the Bombardier Transportation Technology Solutions Unit explained that trackside workers have requested for the potential development of a way for communicating their locations on track for their safety. He also shared that they have developed some early concepts and now are looking for the help of McMaster to complete the solution and then test it.
The main idea is to use RFID tags so that a signal can be transmitted to approaching subway vehicles so that they know of the presence of track workers nearby and their exact location. Some of the safety precautions currently in place include coloured lights or system-wide broadcasts and lookouts let track workers know of approaching subway vehicles.
Pankaj Sood from MRAL stated that this type of technology would be the first of its kind in the world. He explained that the collaborative groups will be looking at an entire technological automated communications ecosystem using technology such as RFID tags, data processing, sensors, networks, user interfaces and new antenna technologies.
Up to ten McMaster graduate and undergraduate students are expected to take part in this development project which will take approximately three years to complete.