• News

Supply Side: Wabtec, Rail Vision

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Railroads have used Wabtec’s Trip Optimizer to operate their trains for more than 1 billion auto miles, the equivalent of more than 40,000 trips around the Earth. (Wabtec Photograph)

Railroads have used Wabtec’s Trip Optimizer to operate their trains for more than 1 billion auto miles, the equivalent of more than 40,000 trips around the Earth. (Wabtec Photograph)

Wabtec’s Trip Optimizer energy-management software tops 1 billion miles of operation. Also, Rail Vision Ltd. lands a switch-yard systems contract from a U.S.-based rail and leasing services company.


Wabtec Digital Intelligence President Nalin Jain

The energy-management software Wabtec launched in 2009 has surpassed a milestone. The company reported on Jan. 17 that railroads have used Trip Optimizer to operate their trains for more than 1 billion auto miles, the equivalent of more than 40,000 trips around the Earth. To date, the fleet of 12,000 locomotives equipped with Trip Optimizer have saved approximately 752 million gallons of diesel, enough fuel to generate nearly 10 billion kilowatt hours of electricity or power almost 900,000 homes for a year, according to the manufacturer, which noted that Trip Optimizer has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 7.7 million tons or the equivalent of removing emissions from about 1.7 million cars for a year. The locomotives are used by 23 customers on five continents, including all North American Class I’s and rail operators in markets such as Brazil and Australia.

Wabtec surpassed the 500-million mark in 2020.

Wabtec describes Trip Optimizer as a “smart cruise control system for trains” that considers terrain, train make-up, speed restrictions, and operating conditions to calculate an optimum speed profile. The software automatically controls locomotive throttle and dynamic brakes to reduce fuel burn and provide efficient train handling, according to the company. It is EPA certified to reduce emissions by 10% by reducing fuel consumption, “enabling railroads to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce operating expenses,” Wabtec Digital Intelligence President Nalin Jain reported.

“This billion-mile accomplishment is a tribute to our customers and our team of innovators,” Jain said. “Trip Optimizer has become an integral locomotive operating system and an industry standard for railroads to efficiently manage the performance of their trains. It is building upon the rail industry’s leadership as the most efficient mode of transporting goods by enabling railroads to significantly cut down on unnecessary fuel consumption, minimize emissions, and optimize their travel routes.”

Separately, Norfolk Southern recently began implementing Wabtec’s Yard Planner technology at Norris Yard in Birmingham, Ala., to improve its “operational consistency and increase on-time delivery of freight” to customers.

Rail Vision Ltd.

Rail Vision CEO Shahar Hania

Rail Vision on Jan. 17 reported that a U.S.-based rail and leasing services company has signed a supply contract valued up to $5 million for its Switch Yard Systems that will improve rail yard safety and efficiency. The first phase of the contract is valued at $1 million, and follow-on orders, worth up to $4 million, are subject to approval by the new, unnamed customer, which is said to be “a prominent player in the rail services sector in North America.” Ra’anana, Israel-based Rail Vision noted that the contract also includes “specific purchase quotas that, if met, provide the customer with exclusivity in the North American industrial rail yards switching segment.”

According to Rail Vision, the Switch Yard System enables railway operators “to streamline and enhance” safety by combining “advanced vision sensors with artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies” to automatically detect and classify objects within a range of up to 219 yards (200 meters), in diverse weather and light conditions. Additionally, the Switch Yard System can detect switch states to support remote railcar coupling, and enables the monitoring of “operational dead zones” to facilitate secure railcar coupling, the company said.

“The signing of the contract with this customer is a significant milestone for Rail Vision, marking our entrance into the U.S. market and reflecting our commitment to enabling the rail industry with cutting-edge AI-based technology,” Rail Vision CEO Shahar Hania said. “This new partnership is a testament to the innovation and effectiveness of Rail Vision’s technology, and we look forward to working closely with this customer to help them enhance operations and contribute to a safer, more efficient rail industry.”

Separately, Rail Vision recently announced that it had established a $6 million credit facility and an additional amount of up to $3 million, subject to certain conditions, with a global investment firm.

Tags: , ,