Passengers on South Western Railway’s normally packed commuter trains will be able to avoid the most crowded carriages if a new app currently under trial gets the green light.
While the avoidance of fellow travellers has taken on a different significance under Covid, the app, which has been developed by SW Trains, Icomera and video analytics company POS Insights, should also prove invaluable once commuters start returning to services into and out of London Waterloo.
The new app will use on-board CCTV images, analysed by artificial intelligence to count the number of people in each carriage. This is then relayed to the travelling public in the form of colour-coded carriage maps – “Red” for little room and “Green” indicating more free space.
According to the Swedish/UK WiFi on Train supplier the app combines train and timetable information with GPS location and camera data to give real-time loading information by carriage and or station gate.
The technology is being tested by South Western Railway, one of the busiest UK networks. If it proves successful the app will be widely offered initially on all Desiro trains and then on all services between London, Basingstoke, Portsmouth, Southampton and Weymouth. The train company says that, if it works, the system will be introduced to the company smartphone app and website in coming months for specific routes.
South Western Railway has some 90 Arterio trains (750 carriages) on order from Bombardier. These were originally due to start running in 2019 but are now expected to enter service this summer. The fleet is part of the operator's plans to provide more capacity and quicker journey times on its Berkshire, Surrey and south-west London routes.
Icomera itself recently launched its 5G-enabled platform.
This consist of its the Icomera X5 mobile connectivity and applications gateway – offering up to four 5G-enabled radio modems specifically built for rail applications. According to the supplier, in real-world trials, the X5 successfully achieved “record-breaking” levels of throughput, surpassing the benchmark referred to in the public transport industry as ‘the Gigabit Train’.
In addition, the company’s SureWAN™ patented core technology enables mobile connectivity and applications gateways to aggregate all available cellular capacity across multiple cellular modems in parallel.
According to Mats Karlsson, Icomera’s Chief Technology Officer “The Icomera platform has always been about far more than a single element working in isolation, and this triad of next-generation products further demonstrates our holistic approach to technological innovation.”
On-train WiFi services, trackside wireless networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’ WiFi on Trains Conference on November 16th and 17th this year. For information on speaking and exhibiting and the one remaining sponsorship spot at the 2021 event, please contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com .
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The 2021 conference (www.Traincomms.com ) is sponsored by Icomera, RADWIN and, new sponsors, GlobalReach Technology and Westermo.