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Brace up for train delays as fog vision device far from ready

Last Updated: Friday, December 24, 2010 - 11:41

New Delhi: Railway passengers may not get any respite from cancellation and rescheduling of trains this winter too as a crucial fog vision instrument being developed
by IIT Kanpur has not been successful due to technical problems.

A lab model was developed for the fog vision device by IIT Kanpur but optics required to make the field prototype is not available with the institute, an official of Research
Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, which is under Ministry of Railways, said.

When the IIT sought assistance from Bharat Electronics Ltd, which deals with advanced optical systems, they responded that the former`s requirement "cannot be met by any technology known to them," AK Mathur, Executive Director, RDSO, told a news agency.

"It appears that optics required to take that project further may not be technically feasible. Hence RDSO is exploring alternate options available worldwide," he said.

Fog vision instrument is aimed at providing clarity totrain drivers for about 250-300m in dense fog to identify any obstruction on track.

"Fog is known to attenuate all visible and infrared spectrums very heavily, so we are now exploring mm wave technology which has lesser attenuation," the official said,
adding this technology may be tested next month.

Meanwhile, the Delhi division of railways has already announced installation of about 500 fog safety devices in trains which alerts drivers about approaching signals during
poor visibility. The fog-pass equipment, which is based on GPS technology, gives audio and visual warning to drivers when they are 600 metres behind the signal or other objects.

Based on RDSO`s specification, Railways have placed order for the fog-pass instrument. Two firms have developed the products and one is provisionally approved.

The scheduling and safety of trains is likely to be improved significantly once these devices get operational, sources said.

Railways have cancelled a number of trains due to dense fog over parts of North India this season.


First Published: Friday, December 24, 2010 - 11:41
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