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Electronic scanning MIMO Radar for railway level crossing obstruction detection alerting

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LCODA (Electronic scanning MIMO Radar for railway level crossing obstruction detection alerting)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

The study has identified and investigated a major market opportunity for object and personnel detection at Level Crossings. In UK, the rail regulator (ORR) has defined that such a sensor be able to detect children above 8 years of age. This requirement is not achieved by current radar devices and the need has been met by the supply of a dual-laser sensor on an ALARP basis. The combination of radar to detect objects and laser for personnel is expensive both in build and install and requires multiple sensors that utilise mechanical rotation.
• Network Rail is investing in personnel detection at LC’s and recent actions suggest the scope may widen and the pace increase.
• The UK LC safety standards exceed those of most other European states. From Europe wide consultation, we believe that these standards will spread across the European Union and probably extend to other rail networks.
Technical Development
Trials have been carried out with prototype hardware. The results from these trials suggest that radar systems can be developed to meet the UK standard both for performance and reliability. The sensor is able to detect people lying in a level crossing area. Further development of both hardware and data processing algorithms will be necessary to achieve the performance required that was identified in this project.
The safety standards that need to be met for this equipment are EN5012X, SIL3 or above. All software that has been trialled has been developed in a manner that fulfils these standards.
Technical Challenge
The major challenge to all such systems will remain that of reducing false positives to the level where delays caused to traffic throughput are minimal compared to ALL other delay sources. Such a requirement will force extensive testing to be carried out before live use is permitted. Once this is achieved a single, all-weather sensor which contains no mechanically rotating parts will provide protection at level crossings far superior to that which is available from existing systems.

Business Plan

A detailed business plan has been presented that demonstrates the commercial feasibility of this development.
Electronic Scanning Radar for Level Crossing