German "trains with brains" can detect aggressive passengers

German "trains with brains" can detect aggressive passengers

German "trains with brains" can detect aggressive passengers

We’ve all been there: drunken party-goers, aggressive football fans, that person playing music through their mobile phone... Inconsiderate fellow passengers can sometimes put a dampener on your train journey. Soon, however, new technology could be putting a stop to all that.

German innovation: “Trains with brains”

Siemens, one of the biggest international companies in Germany, has been working on an “aggression detection system” for trains. The first 25 trains utilising the system have just been bought by German railway company Odeg, who will begin to trial them on lines in Berlin and Brandenburg within the next three years.

The detection system - which is intended to alert staff to clashes between passengers - works by means of multiple cameras and sensors: if the noise level suddenly increases, or the system detects abnormally fast movements, it sounds an alarm in the train’s control centre, pinpointing the location of the disturbance. It, therefore, gives train attendants, who often work alone, a clear view of all the carriages and allows them to quickly respond to potential incidents.  

Artificial intelligence on European trains

Rail technology that utilises artificial intelligence is a rapidly-expanding market. On the metro in Paris, a system is already in operation that recognises whether any of the train’s seats are occupied before it heads to the depot; the new stretch of railway between Berlin and Munich utilises digital signalling systems to allow trains to travel closer together - thus providing room for more frequent services.  

Siemens is also hard at work developing other digital innovations for transportation, including software that can identify the correct spare part when shown a broken component, and cameras that can detect when railway tracks need to be renewed. Last spring, Siemens conducted their first test of autonomous public transport by driving a tram through Potsdam without human intervention.



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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