Swiss partnership paves way for Network Rail to utilise AI

Roland Monser and Robert Ampomah (image credit: Network Rail)

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) is to be among a range of technologies that Network Rail and Swiss railway organisation, SBB, will be working on as part of a new agreement signed by the companies.

The agreement comes as part of Network Rail’s newly formed international research and development partnership programme, which aims to deliver and develop technology to improve safety and deliver a network fit for passengers and freight customers.

Work will initially look at AI technology for use in inspections of steel bridges and tracks, specifically switch and crosses, as well as light-rail remote condition monitoring.

Robert Ampomah, Network Rail’s chief technology officer, said, “This partnership marks a major step for us as an organisation, partnering with the international rail community, to share experiences in operating a railway. Looking at what works and what doesn’t will help us shape and develop innovative technology that will go towards modernising the railway.

“There has always been a history of information sharing with rail colleagues nationally and internationally but signing the MoU today with SBB solidifies our commitment to work more closely together.”

Roland Mosner, SBB’s head of technology, added, “It has been fundamental to us as an organisation to continue to look forward in terms of sharing best practices and advances in applied research and development.

“By jointly improving our operational excellence we strive for the best returns for our passengers and customers. The signing of the memorandum of understanding with Network Rail is one giant step in keeping the momentum moving in the right direction. We welcome the opportunity to collaboratively work with Network Rail and to share the positive outcomes this will bring.”