Positioning Accuracy and Object Detection: Essential to Keep Maintenance-of-Way Vehicles Safe

Positioning Accuracy and Object Detection: Essential to Keep Maintenance-of-Way Vehicles Safe

Safety for maintenance-of-way vehicles and workers Rail safety is the core of what we do at LILEE Systems and as we discussed in Safety Vulnerability Remains after PTC, the job is not done with the PTC implementation at the end of 2020. Our culture of safety continues and expands to maintenance-of-way (MOW) vehicles to prevent incidents, further ensuring rail safety while driving productivity and efficiency and supporting the trend towards Precision Scheduled Railroading. Positioning accuracy matters Positioning accuracy is an essential ingredient of LILEE’s MOW Collision Avoidance Solution. When a track authority for a work zone is given to a maintenance vehicle, the sub-division name, track ID, and milepost range are assigned to the authorized vehicle. This allows the authorized vehicle to enter only the authorized track sections. However, in most cases, there are multiple parallel tracks at the location where a vehicle will be entering its authorized section of track. The accuracy in the location report in this scenario becomes very important as an error in the position report can result in collisions if the maintenance vehicle is allowed to enter incorrect track sections without a warning. Or, in the opposite case, the system can generate unwanted warnings when the maintenance vehicle is operating on its authorized section of track. LILEE’s MOW Collision Avoidance Solution includes a high precision positioning hardware which takes advantage of the location data from the multi-band (L1, L2, L5) GNSS with RTK (Real Time Kinematic), the IMU, and the vehicle CAN bus inputs (direction, throttle, speed, etc.). The built-in sensor fusion software then provides a combined positioning accuracy of 0.01 m + 1...
Safety Vulnerability Remains after PTC

Safety Vulnerability Remains after PTC

Roadway workers are not protected In 2008, the United States Congress mandated positive train control (PTC) for all passenger and freight trains, with some exceptions. Forty-two railroads are subject to the statutory mandate to implement PTC. Twelve years after PTC was mandated, serious accidents may still occur if a maintenance-of-way (MOW) vehicle unknowingly goes out of its authorized work zones. Maintenance vehicles today are not controlled nor monitored by the PTC system. An incoming train cannot be stopped even when the train is equipped with a PTC system. With the extended PTC implementation deadline of December 31, 2020 approaching, now is the perfect time to look into rail safety for maintenance-of-way vehicles and workers as a part of the PTC mandate. PTC-like protection to maintenance-of-way vehicles Positive Train Control is designed to address four problems Train-to-train collisions Derailments caused by excessive train speed Train movements through misaligned track switches Unauthorized train entry into work zones Per the AAR (Association of American Railroads) mandate, PTC shall prevent “unauthorized incursions by trains into sections of track where maintenance activities are taking place.” This mandate however does not protect maintenance vehicles that operate on the railway from running into unauthorized sections of track because majority of the maintenance vehicles do not have any warning or protection systems. Even in some limited cases when the maintenance vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance technologies, they are not integrated with the PTC systems. This imposes enormous safety risks, liabilities, and costs for the rail operators, as this type of accident typically not only incurs property damages easily exceeding $2.5M. The cost of death, injuries, and service...
LILEE Systems launches autonomous rapid transit services in Taiwan

LILEE Systems launches autonomous rapid transit services in Taiwan

SAN JOSE, Calif., August 10, 2020 — LILEE Systems announced the launch of self-driving bus operations in Tainan, the second largest city in southern Taiwan. This will be the first revenue-generating service of autonomous rapid transit (ART) in Taiwan supported by the central and local governments. In July 2020, LILEE Systems received the autonomous vehicle license plate to run self-driving buses on public streets for two bus lines. Through the ART project, LILEE Systems will support the Tainan City Government to enhance and expand its public transportation network. “Autonomous technology will lead a revolutionary change to the city’s transportation systems,” said Huang Wei-Cher, Mayor of Tainan. “The smart transportation initiative will help us improve overall road safety, operational efficiency, and rural area transportation services.” “Through continuous safety validation of self-driving technology, autonomous rapid transit (ART) will be a cost-effective alternative to traditional mass rapid transit (MRT) systems for cities like Tainan,” said Kung Ming-Hsin, Minister of National Development Council. “From a public infrastructure perspective, this new approach can not only reduce deployment costs by half but also serve twice as many citizens. The pioneering innovation of ART will provide a safer, more efficient, and more accessible transportation network and become the pride of Taiwan.” “Thanks to the support from the governments and our partners, we are glad to bring a conceptual technology to a Level-4 autonomous bus solution,” said Jia-Ru Li, CEO of LILEE Systems. “We believe ART will become the new mode of public transportation in the coming years, solving urban transportation challenges such as driver shortages and increasing operational costs.” The Tainan self-driving buses on virtual tracks are centrally...
LILEE Systems Announces the 49 CFR § 236.1033-compliant Solution for Positive Train Control Wireless Security

LILEE Systems Announces the 49 CFR § 236.1033-compliant Solution for Positive Train Control Wireless Security

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 14, 2020 — LILEE Systems, the leading provider of advanced wireless connectivity solutions for the transportation industry, today announced the Next Generation Communications Management Unit solution that enables wireless communications security and interoperable key exchange for the ACSES II Positive Train Control system, a form of PTC implemented by Northeast Corridor railroads. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires wireless communications security for PTC messages as stated in 49 CFR § 236.1033. The LILEE Systems Next Generation Communications Management Unit solution is the first FRA-compliant solution on the market helping railroads meet the requirement before the end-of-year PTC deadline. It is a new addition to LILEE’s extensive portfolio of PTC solutions, with security software for wayside and onboard systems, Key Management System (KMS) for inter-rail key exchange, and a ruggedized gateway—TransAir™ STS-2025—for remote management. Field-tested for system reliability, compatibility, and scalability following FRA-approved specifications, the solution ensures that wireless communications on the ACSES II PTC network are resistant and resilient to cyber attacks. The Northeast Corridor serves 80,000 travelers daily and are shared among several passenger and freight railroads. Interoperability is the top consideration when it comes to wireless security solutions due to its complex host-tenant relationships. By centrally managing and distributing cryptography-based keys, the LILEE Systems Next Generation Communications Management Unit solution ensures wireless security while achieving the required interoperability. It has also been selected by one of the largest passenger rail systems on the Corridor. “LILEE Systems is committed to supporting railroads and public transit authorities with PTC system development and implementations,” said Yale Lee, Co-founder and Vice President of Technology at LILEE Systems. “By delivering the interoperable...
Wireless Security and Key Management for Positive Train Control Systems

Wireless Security and Key Management for Positive Train Control Systems

The first 49 CFR 236.1033-compliant solution on the market: LILEE Systems Solution for Wireless Security and Key Management  In 2008, the United States Congress mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) for most passenger and freight trains. Forty-two railroads are subject to the statutory mandate to implement PTC. Railroads are required to have PTC fully implemented by December 31, 2020. The Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) is a vital overlay system which, in combination with automatic train control (ATC), constitutes one of two major PTC systems and has been implemented by the Northeast Corridor (NEC) passenger rail operators. As of today, all NEC operators face major challenges associated with obtaining viable solutions for secure wireless communication to comply with the PTC requirements of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Originally, the NEC implementation of PTC lacked two major requirements—wireless link security and interoperability. The FRA reports that software issues related to these two requirements are the biggest roadblock. Fulfilling these mandates requires research and development, implementation, integration, and testing and commissioning (T&C) of an authentication and integrity check method and an interoperable key management technique. LILEE Systems is the first vendor to offer a complete solution that meets and exceeds all the security and interoperability requirements and that provides the best path to meeting the December 2020 PTC deadline. Security challenges that must be addressed From the regulatory perspective, the challenge is how to comply with requirements for wireless security as defined in 49 CFR 236.1033. This regulation requires that all wireless communications between the office, wayside, and onboard components in a PTC system provide cryptographic message integrity and authentication. The problem,...