Railways develops AI-powered robot to help identify faults in trains
To eliminate human errors and improve the safety of trains, the Central Railways has developed an AI-powered robot that can take pictures and record videos of the undergears of trains to help engineers identify faults. Dubbed USTAAD (Undergear Surveillance Through Artificial Intelligence Assisted Droid), the robot is already functional, and the Railways is looking to press it into service soon. Here are the details.
What USTAAD is capable of
The robot was developed by the mechanical branch of the Central Railways' Nagpur division. Equipped with a rotatable HD camera with adjustable zoom, USTAAD can effectively surveil undergears of trains and can transmit data over Wi-Fi in real-time. USTAAD is also equipped with LED floodlights that allow for low-light photography/videography, and can easily analyze and examine areas that are difficult for humans to approach manually.
How USTAAD can assist engineers in addressing safety threats
Engineers, for their part, can view the photos and videos captured by USTAAD on the big screen to identify faults in trains that pose a safety threat. Thus, with the help of USTAAD, engineers can swiftly identify safety threats and issue instructions for repair and maintenance. Owing to USTAAD's ability to go where humans can't, the robot reduces the chances of safety threats being overlooked.
USTAAD to be used in all railway zones soon
Reportedly, USTAAD is already functional, but the Railways is looking to test the robot more minutely before pressing it into service. That said, once comprehensive tests are completed, the Railways has plans to use USTAAD across all 17 railway zones, in a bid to improve the overall safety of trains across the country.
Safety has long been a problematic issue for the Railways
Indeed, the Indian Railways does not have a great track record of passenger safety, and there have been numerous incidents of train accidents and derailments that have caused large-scale loss of human lives. By replacing human-based surveillance with robotic surveillance, the Indian Railways can hope to eliminate human error and reduce the potential for loss of human lives.
Lakhs of people have died owing to technical faults
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, India has seen a whopping 2.9 lakh deaths between 2004 and 2015 as a result of train accidents that are mostly the result of technical faults.