24 November 2016

UK’s smart train on track thanks to new university collaboration

Train travelling fast

An ambitious project is underway to provide high-speed rail communication systems which will help create the UK’s first ‘smart’ train to meet the needs of future rail passengers and operators.

The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex is working with Saffron Walden-based LPA Connection Systems after securing significant funding from Innovate UK - the UK's innovation agency.

The 36 month collaboration will look to improve ‘train-to-shore’ communication speeds using cutting-edge wireless technology.

LPA Connection Systems is a leading UK innovator in the sector and has ambitious plans to develop systems to support the UK’s first smart train. Managing Director Greg Howell said: “We are looking to deliver very high speed internet for passengers and at the same time want to ensure trains in the future are equipped to exploit the developing ‘Internet of Things’ – enabling different technologies to easily communicate with each other.

“This will allow personal technology, such as smart phones, to connect with other systems on the train. This will improve the train user’s experience as the underpinning technology we are developing will support exciting innovations such as ticketless boarding and real-time travel information and advertising.

“Passengers will also benefit from greater train reliability as train operators will be able to use remote control monitoring of onboard systems in order to detect any train systems that are degrading and inform maintenance teams so that they can plan preventative maintenance before a system fails.”

LPA provides electro-mechanical solutions to improve reliability and reduce maintenance and life cycle costs for the rail, aviation, infrastructure, marine and industrial markets throughout the world.

The University of Essex is recognised as one of the leading UK universities for telecommunications and embedded systems research.

Telecommunications innovator Professor Stuart Walker from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering will lead the University’s contribution to the project and will be closely supported by Dr John Woods, a pioneer in embedded electronics.

The collaboration is being made possible through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) part-funded by Innovate UK. This will allow the recruitment of a high calibre telecommunications graduate to be based at LPA Connection Systems who will lead the project, work closely with Professor Walker and Dr Woods, and ensure successful exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two partners.

For further details on the KTP or to discuss any ideas for potential new projects, please contact our KTP Manager – Robert Walker – on r.walker@essex.ac.uk

...more news releases