Israeli technology firm Rail Vision has successfully demonstrated the field applicability of its Switch Yard System, an AI-powered obstacle detection technology, for a Class 1 North American railroad operator.

By teaming up with strategic partners, Rail Vision demonstrated the integrated technologies’ field applicability for autonomous switching yard operations.

The move forms part of Rail Vision’s efforts to revolutionise railway safety and the data-related market.

Rail Vision CEO Shahar Hania said: “Our AI-based obstacle detection technology is a key enabling technology for the future of autonomous train operations.

“The integration of our Switch Yard System with driverless locomotive technology creates opportunities for a broader application of autonomous switching operations that could ultimately increase capacity and throughput for railroad operators.”

For the demonstration, Rail Vision equipped its technology on an SD40 locomotive featuring autonomous driving technology and an advanced electronic air brake system.

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During a wet and foggy weather, as part of the demonstration, the firm’s obstacle detection solution identified and provided the distance to people, cars, as well as rail equipment.

This allowed the locomotive to efficiently navigate several obstacles during both autonomous and conventional operations.

The Rail Vision system also determined the alignment of switch points for the locomotive.

The firm said that the demonstration achieved GoA4 status, the highest level of automated train operations.

Hania added: “We anticipate completing a more in-depth follow-on demonstration before launching an official proof-of-concept pilot programme for this Class 1 railroad.

“Rail Vision is positioned for a breakout year in 2023 as our technology continues to gain traction with major customers globally.”

Using electro-optic sensors, AI and machine learning Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS) solutions, the Switch Yard System overcomes limited vision issues and expands the range of sight and reduce downtime.

Intended to increase efficiency and safety, the Switch Yard System is expected to address critical issues within the industry.