OptaSense announces contract award from one of Europe’s largest rail providers – Austrian Rail, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG

November 26th, 2013

Using OptaSense technology for railway monitoring – targeting operational improvements and stopping metal thieves

Asset monitoring and infrastructure security experts OptaSense are pleased to announce an initial contract award with Austrian Rail, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, to use OptaSense’s patented Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) system on its rail infrastructure near Vienna. The contract, which begins implementation this month, is targeted at improving operations and stopping unauthorised access on the railway – for example metal thieves and graffiti/vandalism.

Under an initial three month proof of concept contract, OptaSense will convert 40km of existing trackside communication fibre optic cables into thousands of virtual microphones, which will detect and classify activity along the entire length of the trackside fibre. The programme  will give control room operators real time data about activity along the rail line caused by metal theft attempts and vandalism on otherwise isolated parts of track. The real time data from OptaSense will be integrated into the ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG Security Control and Transport Police centres to enable a fast and effective response to any security alerts.

Klaus Leithner of Austrian Railways ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, commented: “We are very interested in the potential of this exciting technology and can see significant benefits in a Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) system. Initially, we are focussing on detecting and apprehending metal thieves who cause disruption to our operational network

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, added: “We are pleased to be able to provide ÖBB with OptaSense technology which will enable them to monitor and reduce the impact of unauthorised intrusion on to their rail infrastructure by giving them Decision Ready Data™. We look forward to demonstrating the additional operational benefits of OptaSense to reduce their overall running and maintenance costs associated with events like wheel flats, hotbox and other track or train based issues.  

OptaSense has been commercially monitoring rail assets globally since 2008 and has monitored over 320km of track. This new contract with ÖBB in Austria builds on successes with the rail industry in Germany, the UK, and the US.

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