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.