Using Wireless Sensor Networks and Trains as Data Mules to Monitor Slab Track Infrastructures.

Using Wireless Sensor Networks and Trains as Data Mules to Monitor Slab Track Infrastructures.

Sensors (Basel). 2015;15(7):15101-15126

Authors: Cañete E, Chen J, Díaz M, Llopis L, Reyna A, Rubio B

Abstract
Recently, slab track systems have arisen as a safer and more sustainable option for high speed railway infrastructures, compared to traditional ballasted tracks. Integrating Wireless Sensor Networks within these infrastructures can provide structural health related data that can be used to evaluate their degradation and to not only detect failures but also to predict them. The design of such systems has to deal with a scenario of large areas with inaccessible zones, where neither Internet coverage nor electricity supply is guaranteed. In this paper we propose a monitoring system for slab track systems that measures vibrations and displacements in the track. Collected data is transmitted to passing trains, which are used as data mules to upload the information to a remote control center. On arrival at the station, the data is stored in a database, which is queried by an application in order to detect and predict failures. In this paper, different communication architectures are designed and tested to select the most suitable system meeting such requirements as efficiency, low cost and data accuracy. In addition, to ensure communication between the sensing devices and the train, the communication system must take into account parameters such as train speed, antenna coverage, band and frequency.

PMID: 26131668 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]