Finland’s public railway infrastructure includes a total of 2,778 level crossings, some 1,800 of which are unattended. In addition to this, there are hundreds of unattended level crossings on industrial sites and ports.
Smart light safety device improves safety at unattended level crossings
An unattended level crossing poses a serious risk for road traffic. The Finnish company Cautio has developed a solution to improve the safety of unattended level crossings using smart technology. Etteplan was in charge of the overall development of Cautio’s solution, from the initial idea to the finished product.
The end result is an IoT application that includes a significant amount of device intelligence and safety-critical telecommunication and cloud solutions. The system has received Trafi’s safety approval and has been piloted successfully at two locations as of 2014.
The main goal of product development was to guarantee the system’s safe functioning in all conditions.
“Etteplan has strong expertise in operational safety and the ability to use existing technologies in an innovative way,” says Cautio’s Managing Director Henri Soininen.
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Top priority on safety and reliability
Cautio’s light safety device is based on mobile phone network and VHF radio technologies, which constantly relay GPS positioning data on the location of the train from the train’s engine to the cloud. Data on the location of nearby trains is relayed to the warning device at the level crossing. When a train is, for example, 30 seconds from the level crossing, the device is activated and a bright LED light begins to flash.
The light safety device developed by Etteplan and Cautio meets high safety standards, which is possible due to the use of the mobile phone network and VHF radio technologies, which back each other up. The two channels ensure that the data is relayed to the pole even if one of the data transfer channels were to stop working. If both radio signals are disrupted, the train driver is informed and can, for example, use the train’s signal horn when approaching the crossing.
Cautio’s light safety device is ecological and cheap to install
In addition to its high level of safety and reliability, the light safety device is quick and easy to install. It does not require external cabling and is entirely independent of rails and other railway systems. The light safety device does not require an external power source; instead it gets its energy from solar panels and a battery pack.
“Collaborative product development is important to us, and Etteplan has provided us with all the necessary expertise for developing the system. Etteplan understood our needs and was able to quickly and flexibly react to changes and additional needs that came up during the product development process. This made all the difference to the smoothness and flexibility of our product development process and, above all, to the end result,” says Soininen.