Kyushu Railway Co., a Japanese railway operator, has developed a new inspection train called Big Eye. This train is designed to streamline maintenance work using digitalized functions. The train is equipped with laser sensors and cameras to detect track distortions and collect big data for analysis. Unlike the current inspection train, Big Eye can operate without a locomotive, making it more efficient.
The train was remodeled from one that was affected by flooding in 2020. It has a red color with a cow illustration on the rear side, representing Kumamoto’s renowned beef, and wave patterns on the sides resembling the track trajectory.
Big Eye can collect data on the trajectory of railway tracks and measure the distance between tracks and infrastructure. Cameras on the train can be used to check the status of metal fittings that hold the track together. The collected data are sent to a company system for remote analysis, reducing the need for on-site staff. Artificial intelligence technology is used to analyze images and automatically detect areas needing maintenance.
Kyushu Railway hopes that the unique design of Big Eye will become well known, similar to the popular shinkansen track-testing trains known as Doctor Yellow in Japan.
Overall, Big Eye improves maintenance efficiency and data analysis in railway operations, contributing to the digitalization of railways.
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