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ISRO Completes Phase-I Testing of Satellite Based Warning System at Unmanned Railway Crossings

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The trials for the phase-I of a satellite-based early warning system, to alert road users against approaching trains at unmanned level crossings of the Indian Railways network, have been completed successfully, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials said on Thursday. They said that the system is ready for implementation.

“The trial for Phase-I has finished…We have begun discussions with them (Indian Railways). They are very satisfied with the technology. They have seen it performing. They have seen its variants and so they are going to implement it soon,” said Tapan Misra, director of the Space Applications Centre (SAC), a crucial arm of ISRO.

Under the project, integrated circuit (IC) chips, developed by ISRO, will be installed on train engines. These chips will send a signal to hooters installed at the level crossings with the engine at a distance of four km from the crossing. These hooters, linked to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or NaVIC will become louder as trains approach the crossings and will fall silent once the trains have passed.

The Indian Express had earlier reported on the first trial run, conducted in February 2016, for developing this satellite-based system in Ahmedabad by SAC scientists. Later under the pilot project conducted on by the Indian Railways, these IC chips were installed on five trains, running on different routes. According to officials, the testing for the system has been underway for more than a year.

“This technology can work in any weather, including rains and harsh summer. This was one of the biggest challenges and we have emerged successful in all-weather operations,” Misra added.

The SAC director said that four private companies working in coordination with ISRO will provide this technology to the Indian Railways. “We expect Railways will buy this system in large numbers. There are over 11,000 unmanned level crossings on the Indian Railways network and this technology will go a long way in securing the same,” he added.

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