Indian Railways is collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to devise safety mechanisms for making rail travel safer, Union minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.
The minister said that he met Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar few days back and Indian Railways along with RailTel are working together to explore use of space technology for safety in railways.
“Safety is very pressing and urgent need. The discussion which we had was very eye-opening in some sense for me but also very exciting in terms of possibilities that open for engaging with space technologies that Isro has developed, helping in bringing safer travel to Indian railways,” Goyal said at the India Mobile Congress.
There has been a slew of train derailment incidents last month which saw the exit of Suresh Prabhu as the railway minister in the Cabinet reshuffle early September. Talking about technology at the event, Goyal said railways has been an early adopter of computers which could have been also expanded for various operational processes like safety.
“Way back in 1960s, railways started using computers in a small way and by 1985 you had passenger reservations system all computerized. I remember banking started using computers in 1990s. It was quite an interesting fact for me that in late 1960s railways started using computers. I am delighted about that but I do wish we had expanded those frontiers much to bring technology for safety for example,” Goyal said.
He said modern technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to change how the world works and India has opportunity to look at what is latest across the world and bring it to the country.
“I have asked RailTel to look at a programme to connect thousands of railway stations with wi-fi... we can actually provide the villages around railway stations with wi-fi connectivity and get rural India also connected with new age technology. Let’s give them (the) same kind of opportunity that our children in cities are enjoying,” Goyal said.
(With Inputs from PTI)