Supply Side: Ricardo, DuosWritten by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Ricardo opens first North America office dedicated to the rail sector. Also, Duos Technologies Group, Inc. (Duos) expands catalogue with release of five artificial intelligence (AI) detection models for rail customers.
Global technical services provider Ricardo announced Nov. 8 that it has opened its first North America office dedicated to the rail market. The new Folsom, Calif., office will be led by recently appointed North America Ricardo Rail President Kirk Klug, who will oversee the expansion of the company’s rail activities across the region.
“The opening of our new Folsom office demonstrates our confidence in the vitality of North America’s rail and transit market,” said Klug. “It provides a permanent base for our teams as we look to build on a business that is already supporting clients here in California, as well as up in Toronto and Ottawa.”
Ricardo, which already has an established automotive and aerospace presence in North America with clients such as Ford, Caterpillar and NASA, the company says, this was “out-of-step with operations in the rest of the world, where a rail business with more than 600 staff was supporting urban, freight and high-speed rail systems across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”
According to Ricardo, the company began exploring the potential for its railway engineering and certification services in North America in 2021.
“We identified a clear gap for a technical partner like us,” said Klug. “Ricardo is not a typical consultancy offer. We don’t compile heavy technical reports, which we submit with an invoice. We are engineers and technicians who will not only produce the research but go on to design and implement the solution.”
“This is what makes us different. Within Ricardo we have in-house manufacturing capabilities, for example, to produce prototypes that can’t be sourced on the market. We are currently developing hydrogen powertrains and electric vehicle battery packs for clients. In the UK, we are conducting trials in solar powered railways,” added Klug, who, according to Ricardo, will focus on bringing the company’s “extensive technical consultancy offer to the region, including RAMS, human factors, procurement support, and operations and maintenance expertise.”
Duos through its operating subsidiary Duos Technologies, Inc., a provider of machine vision and AI that analyzes fast moving trains and trucks, announced Nov. 9 the release of five new AI detection models for use with the company’s Railcar Inspection Portal (rip® or RIP) solution. The new offerings, Duos says, “represent the latest additions to the company’s growing catalog of deployment-ready AI detection models, each of which is designed to target and identify specific defects and/or anomalies on railcars as they pass through the RIP at track speed.”
According to Duos, most of the company’s AI detection models are focused on identifying railcar defects relating to inspection points that are required by the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and other regulatory agencies. These latest additions, for which several of the company’s Class 1 Railroad customers have expressed a need, are also intended to address FRA inspection requirements, Duos said. Specifically, Duos’ new AI detection models monitor brake beam bent, ladder stile condition, retainer valve handle position, side handhold condition and ladder tread condition. In addition to undergoing lab testing and the company’s “stringent quality assurance processes,” all five models have been “successfully performing in customer-owned environments for several weeks.”
“The growth of our AI and broader technology teams has been instrumental in securing additional customers and bolstering the opportunities within our existing relationships as well,” said Duos CEO Chuck Ferry. “At the end of the day, we are an AI company, and the use cases of the AI solutions will only increase in quality and quantity as we continue to expand. Our detection models are core to extracting the most value from our RIPs for our customers, and these expanded applications will be useful in both our traditional business, as well as our new efforts towards subscription offerings for a broader market opportunity. We’re looking forward to seeing the efficiency and performance of these algorithms, as well as the others that are in development, continue to improve as they are exposed to datasets in the field.”
“The release of this latest set of models reflects our commitment to provide AI-assisted inspection in areas that will yield the greatest value to our customers,” said Duos Chief Technology Officer Jeffrey Necciai. “After working directly with members of key customer accounts, we have accumulated a growing backlog of requested inspection points that, when developed and deployed, will be essential to increasing both safety and efficiency during the inspection process. Looking ahead, we will continue to build on our existing catalogue of detection models to meet the growing needs of our expanding customer base within existing portals and future company-owned RIPs.”
According to the company, Duos plans to release six additional new AI detection models before the end of 2022. The additional models, Duos says, “will address brake systems and running gear, among other critical inspection points.”