The kSense hardware and software platform can be used to improve the performance of freight railroads by analyzing the condition of rolling stock, freight traffic flows, velocity parameters, and freight station (FS) utilities and logistics. The platform will enable railroad owners and managers to have automatic control over:
- Traffic density and real-time location of rolling stock;
- Efficient assignment of trains to station tracks;
- Train headways;
- The condition of the station's equipment and systems;
- Real-time train car traffic at classification yards;
- Adherence to train assembly and container traffic schedules;
- Car weight monitoring;
- The actual condition and depreciation rates of rolling stock and utility equipment; how well the handling of containers and transit goods is organized and managed;
- Unusual or suspicious events;
- Observance of operational discipline.
This list may be extended upon the customer's request.
The platform comprises the following equipment:
|For the platform to work, the above mentioned units need to be installed at the freight station first, after which data collection can commence, followed by its transmission to the kBrain module hosted on the server. In the absence of a local server, the data can be processed in Microsoft Azure or a similar cloud service. This requires that the facility be equipped with a communication channel that transfers data at a rate of at least 5 Mbps.||
The on-premise kHUB subsystem accumulates sensor data and video stream data and exchanges information with the platform's cloud components. The data is encrypted and transferred to the platform's server/cloud subsystem. A mathematical model processes the data and produces a set of controllable parameters to find an efficient way to improve the surveyed facility's performance and to provide forecasts.
After the data has been processed and analyzed, kHub receives the reports required for analysis and, if necessary, a set of instructions to automatically optimize the facility's systems.
- Utility infrastructure
- Railroad software
- Actuating devices
- Video cameras
Defining railroad efficiency and further development options
The facility's performance is assessed by kBrain, the platform's compute kernel which processes the data it receives from kHUB. Two embedded systems – a predictive analytics system and an expert system – carry out real-time data analysis and time series statistical analysis. Having analyzed the data derived from the utility systems, logistics systems and video analytics, the movement patterns of personnel, the assembled trains and individual cars, and the resources exploited, the platform automatically performs as follows:
- Identifies factors that inhibit the railroad's performance and the efficiency of its transport services in the freight station area;
- Generates recommendations on how to improve traffic control efficiency and the performance of engineering systems;
- Provides the opportunity to introduce differential (region-specific) rates;
- Identifies factors that impair the efficiency of freight station logistics;
- Gathers information to maintain an updated and balanced pricing policy;
- Optimizes traffic density and thereby reduces depreciation and risks;
- Forecasts traffic density growth and identifies the types of cars that are most in demand and therefore require maintenance, modernization or purchasing;
- Maintains and controls the optimum operating conditions for engineering systems;
- Reduces traffic management costs;
- Controls employees' operational discipline and adherence to compliance standards;
- Frees up personnel by monitoring freight station operations in real time and by producing proactive recommendations and stimuli;
- Controls traffic and switching safety;
- Maintains temperature control in refrigerator cars and the condition of diesel generators;
- Identifies unusual situations on station tracks or rolling stock behaviors that may develop into an unfavorable situation;
- Provides clients (insurance companies, service providers, etc.) with information services*;
- Helps ensure the safety of goods, thereby reducing insurance costs.
* – provided such services are covered by the rules of transportation.
To optimize staff work, the platform generates individual recommendations. The recommendations and other background information is provided to the switching operator and to track-positioned personnel via an additional monitor and wearable devices respectively.
To get the most out of the comprehensive information processing system, it is highly advisable to integrate it with the freight station's utilities and its information systems, such as speed limit control, geolocation, logistics, etc. The integration can be carried out step-by-step. There will be no need to change or adjust the previously installed parts of the kSense platform.
kFace is the platform's interface subsystem. The results of the data processing are displayed via dashboards pre-grouped in kFace. Through the interface subsystem, the platform can integrate with various information systems that handle accounting and logistics, and thereby utilize the entire bulk of available information. The results can be easily uploaded to the railroad's software-based accounting systems.
The kSense platform helps improve efficiency of how the station handles freight traffic flows – by 10-25%, the performance of utility systems – by 17-20%.