Brightline, Wi-Tronix: $1.65MM CRISI Grant for AI

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Brightline photo

Brightline and Wi-Tronix have been awarded $1.65 million from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) competitive grant program for development of an AI (artificial intelligence)-backed monitoring system to collect real-time data of trespassing activity along the Brightline/Florid East Coast Railway corridor. Described as a “first-of-its-kind system,” it will collect data from locomotive front-end cameras to “guide future decisions related to infrastructure, enforcement and education.”

The first step of the grant-funded project will be to install upgraded, high-definition forward-facing cameras on each of Brightline’s 21 Siemens Charger locomotives. Those cameras will collect data that will be used to develop and train an AI model to identify unsafe behaviors around the corridor. This information “will empower Brightline to more accurately identify areas for additional community outreach, law enforcement presence or engineering projects,” the railroad noted.

Wi-Tronix said the company “has been improving rail and public safety through use of AI-enabled cameras and our onboard platform. More than two million thumbnail images and 135,000 hours of video footage are captured every day, allowing us to continuously improve our automated software solution and AI infrastructure.”

Brightline, which has been experiencing an unusually high rate of trespasser-related fatalies, added it “continues prioritizing and investing in safety enhancements along the corridor. Many Brightline investments have been engineering-based and completed in partnership with local law enforcement agencies. By harnessing AI technology, the company is positioning itself at the forefront of the industry.”

“Brightline’s proposed project is a major win for safety in our industry and the communities we serve,” said Wi-Tronix VP Sales and Customer Experience Chad Jasmin. “The ability to collect, identify and mitigate trespasser behavior through use of AI is a catalyst for change, and it’s exciting to see the FRA and DOT acknowledge this. New possibilities for safety are on the horizon, not just for Florida, but for our nation.”

“It’s our hope that this project, the first to be deployed at scale, will utilize AI technology to drive data-informed decisions along our corridor and establish a cutting-edge technology for the rest of the industry,” said Brightline Vice President of Operations Michael Lefevre.

“This CRISI grant will help keep people safe, with federal investment going toward innovative technologies that will provide new data to address railroad trespassing activities, ultimately reducing the potential for collisions along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell. “We’re proud to put investments toward an effort that will inform future infrastructure decisions and safety upgrades along a growing rail corridor providing freight and passenger rail benefits in several Florida communities.”

Brightline recently inaugurated Miami to Orlando higher-speed rail service.

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