£3M funding to minimise security risks on Network Rail

London, UK

Network Rail is to invest up to £3 million in innovative projects that could help to improve efficiency and safety by automating the examination of rail tunnels and by using data analytics to minimise disruption from security incidents.

Organisations can apply for a share of £3 million through Innovate UK, part of the Governments innovation agency, for projects that develop automated examination of tunnels or use analytics to improve station security.

The company is responsible for more than 600 tunnels with a combined length of 335km. Examinations are carried out by humans and are expensive, time-consuming and dangerous. Network Rail wants to automate them to make them more efficient and safer.

Incidents in its stations often cause significant delays. Network Rail wants to investigate how it could use data analytics alongside its existing security systems to improve safety and reduce delays.

Funding for 2 competitions is from Network Rail under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and managed by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

The first competition is seeking projects that develop an automated solution for examining tunnels and demonstrate it on the live railway. 

The second competition aims to develop systems that can identify a range of security risks, including, loitering, undesirable behaviour, hostile reconnaissance, crowding, and high-risk abandoned objects such as bags and suitcases. It is in two phases. Phase 1 projects are expected to develop and demonstrate an analytics system using pre-recorded data. Successful projects will be able to trial their ideas in a live station in the second phase. They must show they can handle feeds from 20 to 30 cameras in a variety of station environments; process 720p and 1080p image quality; work without external connectivity on the cloud or internet; comply with Network Rail security, technical and data standards; work with the station management system after the trial; give audible and visual alerts to operators, show the location in the station and identify the camera location and monitor all day, every day.

The competitions open on 16 September 2019 and there will be a briefing on 19 September 2019. 


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