Edinburgh launch challenge for tram safety invention

The City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Trams have launched a challenge looking for people to create a device which can detect when a tram driver might be about to lose consciousness due to illness and fatigue and notify the control centre.

Using the new Innovation Procurement Partnership process, the first UK local authority to use this, the Driver Innovation Safety Challenge (DISC) is looking for applicants who can come up with a way of monitoring and analysing driver biometrics so that any loss of consciousness can be picked up immediately and interventions made by the control centre.

Two information events are due to be held later this month to formally launch the challenge with Transport for Edinburgh Chief Executive George Lowder. Applicants will be competing for funding of £168,000 for up to two years from Scottish Enterprise’s Can Do Innovation Fund. The project will also be supported by UK Tram.

George Lowder said: “Following the 2016 fatal accident involving the derailment of a tram at Sandilands Junction, Croydon, Edinburgh Trams has worked closely with UK Tram to identify practical mitigation measures, to help ensure a similar incident is prevented in the future. A key measure is to develop a device able to inform control centres that a driver is about to become incapacitated due to health or fatigue issues. Appropriate interventions can then be taken to prevent the driver from putting themselves and their passengers in harm’s way. We look forward to working with the DISC participants to support the development of this new device, which will eventually have applicability beyond trams, to other modes of public transport and public services, including perhaps plant and machinery operatives.”

Alongside the challenge the Council with Edinburgh Trams will also be analysing various biometrics to try and identify the main types of illnesses which result in a loss of concentration, consciousness or paralysis whilst driving.

The two launch events will take place on Monday 20th and Wednesday 22nd August with more details available here.

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5 Responses to Edinburgh launch challenge for tram safety invention

  1. Pablo76 says:

    The only way i can see is bluetooth watch that monitors heart rate/blood pressure that can be sycned to tram or have a chip that can be upload to computer so staff can view results

  2. Bigalasdair says:

    For many years, diesel and electric trains have succesfully used the “dead man’s hand” principle whereby power is shiut off should the operator lose their grip. What’s wrong with that or are Edinburgh Trams being smart by trying “to reinvent the wheel” ?

    Big Alasdair

  3. Pablo76 says:

    Best way is to get drivers/conductors to wear monitors for 6 month period and assess date at 8 week intervals and compare periods to see if there are any changes to heart/bp.

    The simply option is get a company to come in and do regular occy health appointments

  4. Fred Fitter says:

    If Big Alasdair checked his facts, he would know that all modern trams have “dead man’s handles” these not being fully successful in highlighting a driver becoming temporary incapacitated, whatever the cause. Heavy rail “dead man’s handles” generally are supplemented with vigilant devices.
    Edinburgh Tram are taking some initiatives in progressing some thought on the issue not just for themselves but the UK tram industry in general in bringing those with possible solutions to what has become an serious concern.

  5. Bigalasdair says:

    Edinburgh Council : ” An exciting open innovation challenge has been launched to create a device to detect when a tram driver might be about to lose consciousness due to illness or fatigue and notify the control centre…”

    System in use Croydon : “When a fatigue or distraction event is detected, data and footage are immediately relayed …which then alerts fleet management and allows them to respond in real time to the developing situation in the cab…”

    Edinburgh Trams : “…We assessed the features delivered by that system and it does not meet the requirements of this challenge.”

    Seems the techknowledgy in use in many Tram systems already isn’t what Edinburgh Council want !

    Big Alasdair via Edinburgh Trams