Integrating intelligence enhances comfort

Among the technologies adopted by the rail industry, is artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Relec Electronics’ Sales Director, John Stone explains how they can be simply and cost-effectively integrated to enhance rail travel.

Technology has enhanced the transportation systems across the world, from being just a means to commute or transport goods to intelligent transport systems (ITS). In 2010, an EU directive defined ITS as systems in which information and communication technologies are applied in transport. The aim is to improve efficiency and safety, with intelligent communication and surveillance systems.

Among the technologies adopted by the rail industry, is artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). AI and connectivity offer opportunities to analyse behaviour and perform diagnostics on rolling stock to provide data that can enhance comfort and safety.

New technologies

While train operation is almost semi-automatic, the human element in the form of a driver is still needed to oversee safe and reliable operation. Drivers are isolated in their cabs, so AI at the edge (of the network) can detect any incidents, like an acute medical condition. Onboard surveillance can monitor activity, for example if the driver falls to the ground or stares in one direction for more than five seconds, an alarm will be activated to alert the control centre who may decide to initiate emergency procedures. Outside of the driver’s cab, the same surveillance system can monitor passenger numbers and behaviour and alert the driver or a central control.

Networked cameras and AI software can detect when passengers are seated or alighting from the train to provide real-time status data for accurate updates of capacity. Displays in each carriage can depict which have free seats so passengers can easily move along the train to find a seat. The IoT means that the occupancy status can also be displayed on passengers’ phones for active updates.

Sealed, enclosed monitors

A range of Axiomtek’s EN 50155-certified touchscreen railway monitors are available from Relec Electronics. The latest model to be added to the offering of railway approved monitors is the P710.

This 10.4” XGA TFT monitor has an active area of 210.4 x 157.8mm, high resolution of 1024 x 768 and includes a five-wire resistive touch panel.

The versatile monitor has a choice of interfaces (VGA, DVI and HDMI) and is enclosed in an aluminium casing. This is rated IP65 at the front and supports VESA or panel mounting options. The P710 offers 500 cd/m2 brightness, 16.2M colours and wide viewing angles. It is certified to EN50155 and EN45545. Input range is 24 Vdc to 110 Vdc and the operating temperature is -25 to +55°C.

The IoT and data

The IoT relies on sensors, which relay data to a central location which accesses onboard diagnosis and predictive maintenance. Through signals and data analysis, train operators can know the status of the bogie or axle via software and tackle any areas which display behaviour which is typically a precursor to failure or damage to avoid serious accidents and minimise repairs when the stock is out of action. This data is collected by different sensors located throughout the train and via various protocols. Gateways integrate data and transmit it to the central management system to locate and identify any potential problems quickly.

Onboard surveillance systems comprising transportation-certified computer hardware, security software and cameras require expert electromechanical design as well as knowledge of system integration for applications which are expected to operate in some of the harshest and most demanding environments.

Relec also offers Axiomtek’s 10.4” SVGA panel PC, its 12.1” XGA monitor, a 12.1” XVGA panel PC, and a 15” XGA panel PC, both based on the Intel Atom E3845 processor.

Axiomtek products are available from Relec Electronics, the specialist power conversion and display product provider with a wealth of experience in the rail industry. Its portfolio includes Axiomtek’s purpose-built transportation embedded computer products and enclosed TFT displays. Axiomtek designs and manufactures rail industry-qualified sealed displays and customisable embedded computer products to integrate technologies into rail freight around the world. Many have been certified to EN 50155, EN 50121 and EN 45545 for railway applications. The broad portfolio of ITS and mass transit surveillance solutions saves integration costs but improve time-to-market for transportation system developers.

Relec is also experienced in sourcing products for the railway industry. It can provide display modules in sizes ranging from 3.5” to 31.5” with options for both train-borne and trackside projects. Features include operating temperatures from -40°C to +80°C, high shock and vibration immunity, as well as rugged PCAP touch panels with excellent EMI/EMC performance.

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Note to editors: Relec will be exhibiting at the Engineering Design Show (EDS)

Visit Relec Electronics at Stand F2 12-13 October at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Visitors can discuss the company’s wide-ranging portfolio of power and display manufacturers, which includes Bel Power, Mornsun, Chinfa, Cincon, Premium, Advanced Energy, display partners, Digiwise, Futurelabs and most recently panel PC / monitor specialists Axiomtek, Wincomm & Elgens.

In addition to standard solutions, the company works with customers to understand an application’s particular requirements. This sometimes means going the extra mile to customise a product or a feature to achieve optimum performance.

The engineering skills of its sales team combined with the ability to source the most appropriate products means that Relec consistently and meticulously delivers the best-performing and most robust power and display solutions available.


Issued by Chatty Hatter on behalf of Relec Electronics

Tel: 01929 555700

Relec Electronics

Specialist Relec Electronics has a proud 40 year history in the displays’ business. It is able to listen, advise and recommend the best products sourced from a wide range of display technologies. The company has supplied custom mono displays, standard mono displays and modules to many industries and types of customer.

The company’s range of TFT panels and touch panels, is combined with its dedicated customer service. Working closely with specialist partners, Relec can provide the panel or monitor the customer needs and is happy to develop custom solutions for whatever the application, be it light industrial or heavily ruggedised for the harshest of environments.

Relec’s standard TFT display products are available in a wide range of sizes, from small (1.77”) to 21.5”. They cover all industry standard resolutions, sizes and interfaces. Standard units are available with brightness levels exceeding 1500 cd/m².

In addition to supplying standard panels, Relec has the ability to offer a range of enhancements to improve the optical, mechanical and environmental performance of a display.

Since December 2020, Relec Electronics has been a UK subsidiary of Gresham Worldwide.



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