Russia can see driverless locomotives in the coming years

Computer vision-enabled self-driving switch engines can come to Russia’s railway yards in the next few years. Telematika Corporation (formerly National Telematic Systems) has already tested this technology and is on track to launching its commercial production.

“This year, Russian Railways’ Research and Design Institute for Information Technology, Signaling and Telecommunications in Railway Transportation (NIIAS) completed the testing of its computer vision technology, and its implementation is pending approval now. Integrated with switch engine control systems, this technology analyzes the processes en route and sends alarms whenever necessary. In-house self-driving locomotive solutions exist in Russia, and they have been developing quite successfully,” says Alexander Ovlashenko, CEO of Trans-Telematika, a Telematika Corporation company.

A computer vision system designed to assist the driver is the first step towards a driverless locomotive. In addition to sending alarms, such a system can stop the engine if the rail is obstructed, and not just that.

Further integration of computer vision and locomotive control systems will open the door for scheduling allowing unmanned switchers to operate independently within a yard. The advent of fully automated switch engines can take place in the coming years.