IIT Kanpur’s Innovation to Prevent Accidents at Unmanned Railway Crossings


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Engineers at IIT Kanpur have developed a very useful warning system that can prevent accidents at unmanned level crossings, thereby saving many lives.

The technology, named Radio Frequency and Wireless Based Warning System, will produce a loud sound to alert people to remain off the tracks, and to inform the driver that a crossing is approaching.

railway crossing

Photo Credit: Abhishek Roy 1/Flickr

If everything goes well and the trials are successful, the device will be put to use. Currently, trials are being conducted between Unnao and Sonik railway stations (crossing number 29C) and Lucknow-Sultanpur section (crossing number 189C). Following this, IIT Kanpur will hand over the technology to Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO) on Dec. 16. RDDO is a research and development organization under the Ministry of Railways and it functions as a technical adviser and consultant with regards to design and standardisation of railway equipment and issues related to railway construction, operation and maintenance. The organization had asked IIT Kanpur to develop such a system that would be efficient for two trains on two parallel tracks in one go.

However, the final system is more advanced than the initial expectation. If spread out on 16 parallel tracks, the warning system can handle 16 trains. The system with embedded GPS and RFID (radio frequency identification tag) will be installed in the train engine and at the unmanned railway crossing. When the train is 1,500 meters away from the crossing, the warning system will get activated and hooters will blow up informing the driver that a crossing is approaching.

“The same thing will happen when the train is just 800 meters away from the track. The flash hooters will stop buzzing when train crosses 50 metre mark from the crossing,” BM Shukla, principal software engineer at IIT-K told The Times of India.

The system is foolproof as even if the GPS stops functions, RFID will ensure that the system never fails.

In case of multiple tracks, like two trains crossing each other, the system will continue to function normally. Hooters will buzz for both trains and will close after the later train clears the 50m mark. The trials have been successful until now.

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