Emerging technology will help the MTA become more proactive in track maintenance.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will soon decide which technology it will turn to as part of its Signaling Challenge initiative.
Whatever the agency’s decision, officials expect that decision to help them with infrastructure inspections and upgrades.
Four companies have launched technology pilots since the start of the year, and the MTA will choose one in the coming weeks. The companies were selected by the Transit Tech Lab, which is a public-private partnership between the MTA and the Partnership for New York City. Each company will present the results of the proof of concept to the MTA before the agency chooses a winner.
A technology developed by 4AI Systems combines artificial intelligence and high-tech cameras mounted on the front of trains to detect infrastructure problems, track obstacles and anything on the right-of-way. The cameras operate at 60 frames per second and use thermal imaging to see objects from afar. Rail operators can work with the data in real time and, if necessary, can tag the information and send it to control.
Ouster and Lux Modus have an experiment involving digital LiDAR sensors mounted on maintenance wagons that collect high-resolution 3D geospatial data points to create an accurate picture of the system. The equipment can identify structural damage, infrastructure deterioration and objects in the system.
New York Transit President Richard Davey said LiDAR sensors enable “proactive maintenance,” which is the future direction of the system.
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