M2M Fact or Fiction: Robot repair detection on the railway lines

Last updated: 26 January 2023

This is the ninth in a series of posts around the Gemalto M2M Fact or Fiction quiz, which pits you against a series of scenarios – real or imagined – to test how much of an M2M visionary you are. For the whole quiz, click here, and for other posts in the series – click here.

Whilst in many regards, there are few things more solid than the railway, in others – there is little more fragile. Hundreds of tons of steel hurtling on rails a few inches wide, across bridges, through deserts, mountains and towns. The rail disasters that have struck have been dramatic and awful in scope – the Wikipedia article tracking derailment incidents lists hundreds since 2010, with thousands killed or injured.

So how can M2M help? Well – this is definitely a ‘FACT’ and M2M is already helping. We have a great story about it in South Africa.

Sensors embedded in railway tracks relay data on key wear metrics via a Solar powered communications hub – measures of heat, cracks, vibration and beyond trigger alerts when they cross safety boundaries, allowing engineers to route trains across alternate lines and dispatch maintenance crews to address the issues in the line before a derailment or other incident can occur. Building for the extreme climates the lines run through – from -5 degrees to 60 degrees centigrade – was vital for the M2M gear supporting the rail network. Since deployed in 2012, there have been no derailments on the lines, which speaks to the value of systems such as these.

There are hundreds of contex ts in which this kind of data-fuelled predictive maintenance can save money and lives – in all kinds of heavy industry, in transport, in civil infrastructure – and M2M is the key to unlocking the benefits.

Did you get this question right in our quiz? Take it here

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