Omnicom Engineering, the York-based rail systems company, announced it was awarded the 2015 Future Railway Innovation Award for its proposed RailNavigator product, a low cost advanced positioning system for rail.
The award was made by RSSB and the Railway Industry Association (RIA), at its annual Technology & Innovation Conference held last month in Leamington Spa.
As one of three finalists Omnicom Engineering’s Chief Executive, Stirling Kimkeran, demonstrated its RailNavigator positioning system for rail to a panel of judges.
Omnicom was announced as the winner and duly presented with the winner’s cheque for £10,000 by Clare Moriarty, Director General Rail Executive at the Department of Transport, and David Clarke, Director of Innovation at RSSB. The initial award is in recognition of the work done to get to this stage with access to further funding of up to £300,000 in total being released as the project develops.
Low cost advanced positioning system for rail
RailNavigator is proposed as a low cost advanced positioning system for rail which will provide real time vehicle positioning and associated information.
Initially suitable for passenger information systems, logging driving characteristics and taking ride quality measurements; it could also be used to drive other functions that rely on accurate train position determination, such as automated train door opening, temporary block movements or ETCS.
Omnicom said the availability of a low cost positioning system that can be used on passenger trains will also help facilitate the move to service train based infrastructure monitoring.
Accelerating Innovation in Rail 1
Omnicom Engineering was previously awarded funding of £131,868 in November 2011 for its Digital Imaging for Condition Asset Management (DIFCAM) project in the first Innovate UK and and RSSB Accelerating Innovation in Rail competition.
DIFCAM was developed to use rapid optical techniques to monitor & assess asset condition digitally, reducing or eliminating the need for rail track access & subjective human visual inspections.
With funding from August 2012 to January 2014, Omnicom Engineering led a consortium also made up of NPL and Atkins UK.
Starting with an initial demonstrator of the assessment of structural integrity on bridges & tunnels, the technology platform was to enable the delivery of applications for UK & international railway markets.
DIFCAM is now promoted by Omnicom as a product satisfying demand for a safe, efficient and automated method of carrying out basic visual inspections. The system captures a complete visual record of almost any structure, as well as a 3D model. Using a high-grade inertial guidance platform, these datasets combine to produce a high quality 3D representation of the asset as well as indexing the raw data for later analysis.
The consortium has also published a short video outlining the project.
Accelerating Innovation in Rail 2
Omnicom Engineering Limited, is also leading the £564,590 budgeted (of which it received £143,496) Asset Monitoring Platform (AMP) project, awarded in March 2013 under the second Accelerating Innovation in Rail competition, also known as the Enabling the Digital Railway competition that offered investment of up to £5m in collaborative R&D.
In collaboration with Cybula Limited, and the Universities of Huddersfield and York and with a funding period of February 2014 to February 2016, the Asset Monitoring Platform project is intended to deliver a web-based diagnostic platform for railway infrastructure asset monitoring, and improved forecasting of track condition based on the use of track geometry data.
A demonstrator will use the asset monitoring platform (AMP) can be used to improve the forecasting of track condition based on the use of track geometry data.
Accelerating Innovation in Rail 3
It’s too early to say if Omnicom will go for the hat-trick, in addition to its latest award, but the third Accelerating Innovation in Rail competition Enhancing customer experience in rail travel closes for the deadline for expressions of interest is noon 22 April 2015.