- Siemens has launched a business called Digital Rail Services that will use sensors and software platforms to create an "Internet of Trains" in the U.S.
U.S. trains create billions of data points that Siemens says can be harnessed to "reduce unplanned downtime, improve operational efficiency, enable improved business planning and performance and generate energy and cost savings."
Siemens already has various smart train programs going on in Europe, including in Spain and the U.K., where pilot projects delivered improvements like less down-time and fewer delays for passengers.
Building on IoTrains experience in Europe, Siemens plans to launch its U.S. venture from two launch sites.
In Atlanta, Siemens will collect data from systems onboard city streetcars built by the company. The data will be analyzed for best practices for the fleet, including identifying possible traffic bottlenecks, and finding track segments and time periods with high energy consumption so power usage can be targeted and reduced.
The city could use data collected to change how long street car doors are open or identify safety improvements though analyzing horn usage for pedestrians and cars.
In North Carolina, the Charlotte Area Transit System is working with Siemens on a pilot program for near real-time diagnostics and analysis of their light rail system. They plan to use that data to make prescriptive maintenance recommendations. According to Siemens, the preemptive work can help avoid interruptions and delay as well as increase the availability in the fleet.
Achieving those ends will require sifting through data. Newer trains can produce nearly a petabyte (or 1,024 terabytes) annually, Progressive Railroading reported last year.
"Railroads need to convert the data into usable information to guide their capital maintenance planning programs," Allan Zarembski, director of the railroad engineering program at the University of Delaware, told the outlet.
Ventures like the Siemens business are slated to expand in the coming decade. According to a report by Cisco, $27 billion will be spent in the next 15 years on railway IoT projects.