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System to assist train backing

Context of the project

Multitel has been chosen to develop, test and validate a machine vision prototype to assist train backing, which is of primary importance for the French Railway Company (SNCF). In fact, the backing maneuver is a tricky operation for the train driver. In this case, the train driver is assisted by an operator in order to drive the locomotive which will push the train. The communication between both operators is actually done by radios, the operator is located at the front of the train, whereas the train driver is in the rear cab of the train, ready to drive. Currently, the operator takes some risks for staying besides the front of the train and maintaining a stable radio communication.

Proposed solution

So in order to improve the security during this backing operation, Multitel has developed a prototype which consists in acquiring, transmitting and receiving video and audio using an embedded, compact and 8-hour self sufficient system.

The proposed system is able to transmit high quality video images between the front of a train and the driving cab. A wireless link robust over several hundred meters and able to function in very complex environments has been integrated in the prototype. Image and sound are in this way presented in real time to the operator with the help of a portable and autonomous device.

The system is composed of :

  • The transmitter which is located at the rear of the train, in order to acquire images of the railway
  • The receptor is located at the front of the train, in the driver’s cab.

in charge of audio/video acquisition/transmission.
allowing audio/video signal
reception and visualization.

The images have to be of high quality, and have to be provided without any cut. To solve this problem, we use the DVB-T technology (Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial ), well-known and already proven to be efficient in the broadcast domain. The choice was not so evident due to the context of data transmission, the presence of metals, catenaries, vibrations on the railway.

In addition to choose the right technological components, Multitel has also paid a particular attention to the integration and packaging part of the system.