In a bid to improve operational efficiency, Indian Railways is set to go big with artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics. This is manly to analyze the data generated by Indian Railways, the national transporter has tied up with the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav was quoted in a PTI report saying that a Centre for Excellence will be set up by Indian Railways in this regard in the next three months. A decision has been taken by the Railway Board to appoint a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in every zone of Indian Railways. The CTO’s mandate will be to keep a track of emerging technologies in AI and analytics as well as use it in the rail system, Yadav said.
“We have passengers-related data, train operations-related data, freight data and even asset-related data. We want to analyse all this data with the help of AI and analytics and use it in our Passenger Reservation System (PRS), introduction of new trains and even predictive asset maintenance. We have tied up with the Indian School of Business (ISB) for this,” he said.
The Indian School of Business in Hyderabad has been assigned to plan an introductory capacity building program and formulate a report on the industrial practices of AI on rail transport and benchmarking. It will also develop a report on establishing the centre for excellence and an advanced capacity building program.
Meanwhile, the railways has already trained 88 officials over the last two months for this purpose and such training will be provided for identified officials in every zone and division.
The training modules include cloud computing, data science, big data analytics, AI using reinforcement learning and AI for autonomous vehicles.
According to officials, the railways has not only planned to have a CTO in zonal headquarters, but also an assistant chief technology officer (ACTO) in divisions directly reporting to the General Manager and Divisional Railway Managers respectively.
Six to ten officers in divisions and about 20 in zonal headquarters will be identified for training in data analytics and AI. They will be formally trained in institutes like IITs, ISB, IIMs, IIIT in the two subjects (of data analytics and AI).
The railways is also looking at development of data sharing protocols with the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), RailTel and others, they added.
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