MoniRail, a leading expert in rail infrastructure monitoring, has secured a significant grant from the UK government's prestigious SBRI Quantum Catalyst Fund.
The Phase 2 award, funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Innovate UK, will enable MoniRail to spearhead the development of a groundbreaking quantum-based navigation system for railways, eliminating reliance on satellite signals in tunnels and other signal-restricted areas.
Understanding train position with high accuracy is crucial for efficient network management, maintenance, and safety. However, traditional GPS-based systems often fail in tunnels and urban environments, leading to inefficiencies and potential safety risks.
MoniRail, alongside partners Transport for London (TfL), Imperial College London, University of Sussex, University of Birmingham, PA Consulting, QinetiQ, and Unipart, will develop a revolutionary solution that leverages cutting-edge quantum technologies.
"It is fantastic to be able to share the news of our success in the SBRI Quantum Catalyst Fund," said Peter Ainsworth, CEO at MoniRail. "This funding win will help us produce significant advances in the area of positioning accuracy and enhance our track monitoring solution through the creation of groundbreaking technology."
The proposed system will utilise a train itself as a sensor, continuously monitoring track conditions while simultaneously employing quantum sensors to measure gravity, time, magnetic fields, and acceleration. This combined approach promises to deliver unprecedented levels of positioning accuracy, even in challenging signal-deprived environments.
"Working with our partners, we will harness quantum sensors to achieve improved levels of positional accuracy, critical for both civilian and military needs," explained Dr. Jamie Vovrosh, Quantum Lead at QinetiQ.
"Unipart is delighted to be the technology partner for this project, supporting advancements in railway navigation," said Dr. Colin Smith McGloin, product and innovation director at Unipart. "We are excited to begin our journey in developing a UK supply chain for the manufacture of quantum sensors."
"It is exciting to see what bringing together academia and industry can do for the transport sector and the economy as a whole," commented Professor Paul Plummer, director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham.
Photo Credit: Monirail