To limit the spread of the virus and protect staff, teams in charge of innovation within Infrabel, the manager of the Belgian rail network, have developed several tools based on their research in artificial intelligence. After a first phase of testing in a Brussels building by Infrabel and the approval of prevention advisers, sensors are being installed in five pilot sites (workshops, dining halls, etc.) deemed to be “suitable for regrouping” by Infrabel. They will make it possible to launch an alert when the minimum distances are not respected or if the mask is not properly worn.
Infrabel gives as an example a refectory receiving, in normal time, about thirty agents, but where the number of authorized persons is now limited to eight,with an obligation to respect a distance of 1.5 m. The other example given is a corridor of access to a building put in one direction. In case of non-compliance with the rules en (short distance, overcrowding,absence of mask or mis-wearing of the latter), a sound warning is heard.
“These innovations are not a substitute for barrier gestures; they help to remind us that vigilance must be constant in order to succeed in the process of de-conferencing. . This is included in the professional sphere,” says the belgian rail network manager.
Useful tools for safety on railway sites
These tools, among the first of its kind to be installed in the world of work according to Infrabel, were designed and developed by its ICT (Information and Communication Technology) teams, which were able to extract the characteristics of a 3D scene using a simple camera – 2D image – and an algorithm that can calculate the coordinates of individuals and thus determine the distances between them.. This new application linked to coronavirus is directly derived from a reflection carried out for several months on the adaptation of artificial intelligence to the specific needs and risks of the rail trades. Two projects were in fact about to be completed before the health crisis: the recognition of the wearing of personal protective equipment (EPI) and a system for detecting dangerous situations (fall of a technician on the tracks…) But “in light of the coming crisis, this research and development activity has been reoriented and adapted to health needs in record besoins time,” says Infrabel, which “is est now one of the first companies to make this type of assistance available to its staff.” The Belgian rail network manager adds that several companies have already expressed interest in these innovations and that “other tools on the market will complement this range”.
Infrabel has ordered about 100 individual issuers from third parties. . Worn in bracelets or attached to a helmet, they are based on UWB (UltraWide Band, ultra-wide band) technology that can measure distances to 10 centimeters. Designed to be more specifically field-focused, these transmitters can vibrate, emit an audible signal or flash when two technicians get too close to each other. Infrabel states that it has made a commitment to staff representatives to use these tools in the strictest compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).