Case Study: Custom Rail PC – Level Crossing Safety Systems

08 Case Study Custom Rail PC – Level Crossing Safety Systems

Rail Crossing Data Recording & Control of LIDAR Obstacle Detection and CCTV System

A leading independent, telecommunications and security systems integrator serving the rail industry  – a division of a global company specialising in rail engineering for control rooms, passenger information, security and trackside signalling applications. The UK-based office designs advanced rail products and systems that provide new solutions for challenging problems, additionally offering project management, survey, installation, commissioning and enabling works through to maintenance.

The Challenge

BVM were tasked to re-create a bespoke embedded computer for use at rail crossings, predominantly across the UK but also with consideration to global installs, consequently inviting deployment in harsh environments, withstanding of high levels of trackside vibration – simultaneously providing a system that had a high technical capability.

The customer’s application was designed to detect obstacles on the ground and around the edge of the crossing barrier lines, with a LIDAR solution working as a complimentary obstacle detector to the existing RADAR system, complete with a CCTV monitoring system recording the whole crossing, including the road traffic lights.

Case Study: Custom Rail PC - Level Crossing Safety Systems
Case Study: Custom Rail PC - Level Crossing Safety Systems

Our Solution

With the compact size of the bespoke embedded computer already determined by the existing solution, our engineering team carefully selected ‘best fit’ components, creating  3D CAD models to prove our concepts to the customer around aesthetics, i/o positioning and  the thermal dynamics of the system before building prototypes. At the systems heart, a Micro-ATX motherboard utilising an Intel i5 CPU, a DIO Card, a PCIe Video Card and 3G connectivity.

As a safety critical solution, it was essential to create an embedded operating system. Collaborating closely with the client, we configured and deployed a bespoke version of Windows Embedded Standard 7, embedding McAfee Application Control to effectively create “White Lists” strictly running listed applications only, restricted the running of non listed applications and threat of malware.

Value to the client

Through our customisation of hardware and software, our customer has an ‘out of the box’ ready solution that they unpack, plug in and turn on with minimal set up required. This saves the many hours that had been previously spent on the unnecessary re-configuration of components and software due to the receipt of inconsistent quality of product. Additionally, BVM provided in-house training around the embedded operating system to enable the customer’s engineers to have a full understanding of how an embedded operating system differed from a standard desktop solution.

Fact File

  • Throughout the product development, cycle we worked hard to meet the challenge of speedily replacing & improving a current design – with the complexities of providing a safe, thermally designed product that was certification ready.
  • Units continue to be deployed at rail crossings throughout the UK and across the rest of the world – with over 60 systems now deployed.
  • The resulting PC system is a robust, stable embedded computer designed to run 24/7/365 in challenging conditions working in a safety critical environment.

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When a standard embedded design won’t suffice for what you need, you can always turn to BVM for help and use our custom design and manufacturing services.