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Digital rail infrastructure monitoring is vital for future rail mobility. Especially for autonomous train operation, knowledge of the exact position of, e.g., a switch, is required at all times. Current systems are based on a mechanical measurement principle or operate indirectly by analysing, e.g., the current consumption of switch actuators. As a result, they provide non-continuous feedback on the real position or movements of components, which can lead to false alarms. In this case, tracks need to be closed until the components are examined, which causes delays. The new system for digital, wireless monitoring of rail infrastructure, developed by PhySens GmbH, is based on a high-precision magnetic measurement principle. The standardised, easily retrofittable sensor monitors data from switches, railroad crossings or signals, which are processed in the cloud. Using the system, the exact position of switch components or railroad crossing barriers can be determined precisely. In addition, information about the current mechanical state is provided and can be used for predictive maintenance. In this way, the system decreases delays, while simultaneously reducing maintenance costs and extending the lifetime of infrastructures.
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