Indian Railways has said that it is exploring the possibility of using the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro’s) GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation (GAGAN) for safety at unmanned railway crossings, said a top official of Isro.
Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways, in his budget speech said that the Railways’ ultimate objective is to eliminate unmanned level crossings by constructing road over-bridges (ROBs) and road under-bridges (RUBs).
In the short term, Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has been asked to develop a suitable device with reliable power supply system based on theft-proof panels/batteries in consultation with Isro, using geo-spatial technology, for providing audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings.
Further, a radio-based signal design project has been taken up with IIT Kanpur for warnings at unmanned level crossings.
Speaking to Business Standard, Isro chairman A S Kiran Kumar said: “We have done pilot in two places, including one in Gujarat and trials are OK. We will showcase the proof of concept, while the RDSO will do the installations. Discussions are in progress with the Indian Railways for using GAGAN-based system and software.”
It may be noted, the GAGAN system is a regional satellite-based augmentation system developed mainly to assist landing of aircrafts accurately.
He explained that using the GAGAN system a train with the necessary receivers would know the location of the level crossings and a warning signal can be sent and it can activate the train’s hooter automatically when it nears the level crossing at the level crossing itself.