Indian Railways ready to battle dense fogs through Tri-netra system, a new anti-fog technology

This is from India Today’s latest series “The next big things”. 

Winter and fog may be the best of friends, but not for Indian Railways. Every day, an average of 30 trains are cancelled and over 20 delayed. Estimates are that Railways lose around Rs 30,000 crore annually because of delays caused by fog. There is also the risk of mishaps. Now, the Railways is planning to fit all its trains with a ‘zero-visibility’ navigation system called Tri-netra (three eyes). The system consists of a high resolution optical video camera, a radar-based terrain mapping system, and a high sensitivity infra-red video camera. Working in tandem, these three sensors will help locomotive drivers see through even the densest of fog, for at least a kilometre ahead. The concept is similar to the technology used in fighter jets to enable pilots to navigate in pitch darkness or through dense clouds. Till the Tri-netra system is evolved, the railways is also fitting thermal vision cameras on locomotives, which will enable drivers to see obstacles at least 300 metres ahead. The current systems show images in black and white, but officials hope to convert them into colour-enabled displays, to allow drivers to see signals. Hopefully, delays and cancellations of trains due to fog would become things of the past.

The Breakthrough

A zero-visibility navigation system for trains that allows locomotive drivers to see in darkness or thick fog.

It combines data from an optical camera , an infra-red one and a radar imaging system.

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