Context: ISRO’s satellite-based chips are set to alert people at unmanned rail crossings
Satellite-based chip systems developed by ISRO will be used to alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains. These chips will also help the railways in tracking train movement on a real-time basis.
Initially, on a pilot basis the ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips will be installed in the Mumbai and Guwahati Rajdhani trains. Hooters will be installed at 20 unmanned level crossings on Rajdhani routes for Guwahati and Mumbai.
The system will warn the road users by hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level. The hooters will get activated when the train is present at a distance of about 500 metres from the level crossing, warning both road users as well as the train driver near the crossing. The sound of the hooters will become louder as the level crossing nears, and finally it will become silent after the passage of the train.
In a phased manner, more trains would be equipped with the ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips.
The satellite based system will also be used for tracking trains about their movement on real time basis. It will be useful to passengers as at present the movement of trains are tracked manually.
Safety at unmanned level crossings is a matter of concern for the Indian Railways as around 40% of accidents involving the railways happen in unmanned crossings. India has a total 10,000 unmanned railway crossings in the country. The railways has set a target for eliminating all the railway crossings in the next 2-3 years. It has eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16.
The new technology will also help Indian railways at the time of train accidents as it can be used to get details about the exact location of trains and topography.