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NYCT: Four Firms Named ‘Signaling Challenge’ Finalists

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Alstom’s Urbalis CBTC technology is among those being evaluated for the NYCT Signaling Challenge program.

Four companies—4AI Systems, Alstom, Luminar/Seoul Robotics and Ouster/Lux Modus—have been selected by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Transit Tech Lab as finalists in the global Signaling Challenge competition, part of New York City Transit’s CBTC (communications-based train control) program.

The four finalists, selected from nearly 60 applications, are testing solutions that utilize emerging technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) and LiDAR. The selected companies began tests in January 2022 and will present proof-of-concept results by the end of the summer. The Transit Tech Lab is part of the Transit Innovation Partnership, a public-private initiative created by the MTA and Partnership for New York City

Using an onboard AI system to detect infrastructure, obstacles and wayside objects, 4AI Systems’ technology “supports train operators in identifying obstructions, track intrusion, and equipment in need of repair.”

Alstom’s Urbalis CBTC platform will “enable faster communication between trains and bi-directional train movement. The product has a simplified, train-to-train architecture that eliminates the need of wayside equipment, reduces installation times, improves operational headway and speed, and lowers life cycle costs.”

Using long-range LiDAR technology coupled with perception software from partner Seoul Robotics, Lumina aims “to accurately position a train underground, including areas where GPS traditionally fails. The product provides accurate arrival and departure data and can be further trained to detect hazards and structural damage on the tracks.”

Ouster, in partnership with Lux Modus, will use digital LiDAR sensors “to collect millions of high-resolution 3D geospatial data points on a Track Geometry Car. The technology provides a digital twin and detects structural damage, infrastructure decay and foreign objects on the tracks.”

“Increasing reliability is paramount to improving the customer experience and bringing more people back to the subway,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said. ”This diverse group of pilot programs provides a variety of solutions towards achieving this goal, and we look forward to seeing the results.”

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